TV The personnel and name for Kilroy's replacement have been made. Nicky Campbella and Nadia Sawalha will be presenting Now You're Talking! which has to be the saddest title without mentioning menaces or phantoms. I still much prefer Kilroy was here!
Life Fani's over tonight and currently watching Sex in the City. I'm not. This is a programme I've watched rarely. It's not that I haven't tried. After all I should love it. It's set in New York. It has snappy dialogue. But somewhere between trying to keep up with new episodes and who the hell everything is, nothing gelled. Perhaps when I sign up for The Guardian's DVD rental service, which was so painless it would be stupid not too, I'll catch up.

So here we are at friday already again. I've spent much of the week having a low budget time in catching up on films and music and reading. It seems unexciting (and possibly is) put time's gone quickly and I'm already wondering about all the things I can be doing with the next forty-eight hours. I'm wondering if it's possible to spring a surprise on yourself. I'll tell you tomorrow ...
TV Oooh eee --- You Bugger! It's time for .... it's time for ... The Mary Whitehouse Experience ...
Radio BBC Radio Five Live Bloopers I'm not sure if my favourite is Steven Berkoff telling Anna Ford to 'talk normally', the sick news presenter or the Cricket commentators Brian Johnston and Jonathan Agnew getting the giggles at The Oval in 1991 ...
Music Has sex appeal gone out of rock and pop music? Rob Harvilla of the East Bay Express thinks so. At first he says that the reason the Janet Jackson incident didn't work was because she wasn't sexy enough and then goes on to say:
"We don't know how to be sexy anymore. Rock culture has irreparably split into two completely polarized halves: You're either a deadly serious 'artist' with Important Things to Say and all the sex appeal of a large-mouth bass, or you're teen-pop jailbait whose 'songs' unfold like acid-hit lap-dance routines that slap you across the face with all the subtlety of, well, a large-mouth bass. The hallowed middle ground no longer exists; you can have actual musical talent or you can have sex appeal. Not both."
Now I wouldn't want to offend my predominantly female readership, but my gohd is he wrong, but then I don't think he knows what he thinks his point actually is. He seems to be suggesting that you can't look like Beyonce and make a serious statement about life. Yes, and? Is talent based on what the music is about or how it makes you feel? He offers the suggestion of Liz Phair; I would have raised him a Jewel who after years of being folksy released a pop album. And it was great and she looked great but there was something rather subversive going on while she was trying something new. Sheryl Crow is a fabulous looking woman who released really good records. Doesn't she count? Can we have a follow up piece which explains what you actually mean in this one. What was so deep about Prince anyway?
Film Kevin Clerks Smith to direct a Green Hornet movie. Umm. Wasn't he from the same era as The Phantom?
Film A freebee in Saturday's copy of The Guardian lets me sample their DVD rental service. Visit the site, select a disc, 3.75 rental and postage and three days later it's through your letter box. Although it's a fairly pointless excercise for mainstream films (which are available at Blockbuster and for sale in some places for not much more, for the more obscure offerings its fabulous. That Tarkovsky movie you were meaning to get around to but don't want to buy because you can't imagine dozing through it more than once. They have it. My selection arrived today in a little plastic envelope which, through a transformer-like magic turns into the return envelope. It's disc only in a little snapcase, presumably to keep down postage but who needs the badly written spoiler ridden plot summary on the back anyway?

I went for Le Regle Du Jeu the film Jean Renoir made during the cusp of the French occupation in 1937. I had wanted to catch up on my French New Wave, but presumably in the wake of The Dreamers everything was out. So looked at their influences instead. Renoir's film tells the story of a group of French aristrocrats and their servants getting together for a weekend of hunting and meriment. Multiple stories are told within both households as hearts are broken, arguments ensue with grave consequences. If this sounds familiar, it's fairly obvious that it was an influence for Julien Fellows and Robert Altman when they created Gosford Park. The scenes when the servants help their masters through the door using their umbrellas is spookily similar, as is a later moment when the staff sit down for dinner.

Like the Altman, in places the characters seem attrociously unsympathetic. It's about a hunting party and believe me when I say that many animals (mostly rabbits and pheasants) were hurt in the making of this film. There is a an uncomfortable seam of racism and anti-sematism running though the piece which appear with such a light touch it's hard to tell whether this was an affectation of the time or a decision taken by Renoir as a reflection of the feelings which were running through polite conversation at a time when Hitler was consolidating his place in Europe. What undoubtedly leads the film to it's classic status are the film making techniques on display. In a time before steadycams the camera weaves in and out of the set; there is a pace to the piece which I've haven't seen in many films of the time, with quite a ferocious amount of editing which must have been murder on the cut and paste method of the time. And many of the performances are shockingly naturalistic in their own way, Brando eat your heart out.

What with catching up with the backlog of films I've taped over the past couple of years I've been watch a lot of international film. Unlike Hollywood, the only rule I've observed is that there are no rules. Even in something like Aki Kaurism?ki's The Man Without A Past which has roughly the same set up as Doug Liman's version of The Bourne Identity (man turns up not knowing who he is and with few clues), we have no idea were it's going -- there is a narrative freedom overiding our strict expectations of a beginning, middle and end, and what usually happens at each juncture. Reading Syd Field's books about writing screenplays you couldn't imagine there is another way of doing it. There is. Of course there is. I've seen it time and again over the past few months, from The Hour of the Wolf to Kandahar. But in a way I feel like I've been trained out of watching a standard English-language movie. When I saw The Runaway Jury the other week it was a bit of a shock. Although it hides itself under a ton of editing and dialogue the story is massively conventional. Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman might as well be wearing a white hat and black hat respectively. It's a good job I love all film or I could find myself sidelined.
Life Just because it's late and I'm in a silly mood I offer the following. Have you ever been invited to a party were you know only one person and the beer you’re drinking and found yourself sitting on the edge of a conversation which consists of weird phrases and sayings which seem to make no sense? The in-joke is the perfect way of expressing friendships but they can be bloody infuriating for everyone else. They tend to be most virulant at school or college, but even grown men of nearly thirty get a kick out of them. Here is a list of things which will only mean anything to about one of the people reading this now....

You ! Kitchens , my tea, off you go !
A large tomato called Geoffrey
Are you a border? You smell like one
Games is not double skive
Hi, I’m Clive Dude
I don’t want no talking at the momeeeeeent
I’m not gay
The thing with the thing
My fwiend’s coming!
Neuter the masses
Now boyz
It's a Greek word
Ceiling, floor, carpet, door, mug . . .
The idea of . . . the mud, the smell, the trench feet . . .
There’s no such thing as a generic term
The skinner
This is the video diary of Satan
What’s that red light flashing?
Where’s mee jumper?

I want to create another list which brings together in-jokes from throughout the readership. It'll be our list and something only we will understand. It could be anything, nicknames for teachers or friends or work colleagues, something which reminds you of that night out you had that time or just a moment when there was a meltdown and hilarity ensued. I look forward to seeing what you come up with, answers through the usual channels.
Journalism The Guardian has decided to stay as a broadsheet. Although I was initially slightly disappointed (the news section has always been pig to read at lunchtime) I'm now convinced this a good thing. It's a matter of identity. As the linked article describes, The Times and Independant will eventually go tabloid only which in the long run will effect the papers editorially and perhaps drive them close to the middle-brow. Am I a snob for wanting bigger sheets of paper? Probably. [via LMG]
Film Well wasn't that the biggest 'Huh?' in awards history.
"And the Bafta goes to ... Peter ..."
"Yeaa ..."
".... au huh?" Polite applause.
Unfortunately we didn't get a shot of Peter Jackson at this moment, so we didn't get to see how far he stood up, but it must have been really tricky for him. It was about the only award all night I didn't totally agree with (although I haven't seen Master and Commander yet but I can't imagine Weir had as much floating about his head at Jackson did and besides he's an old hand).

Actually the Baftas 2004 was a night of anomalies. For example, Val Kilmer. He might well be making a film at the moment but it hasn't been released yet so we don't actually know if its a classic -- and if his beard was any kind of indication. Couldn't Orange pursuade anyone else to give out their audience award? I'm sure Alicia Silverstone is a lovely person, but again her last film was Branagh's Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost and that was five years ago. I hear she doing well in tv in the US at the moment, which is nice, but it made the ceremony feel ... dated, especially when Stephen Fry listed Batman and Robin as one of her films. Speaking of Fry, why did he (a) decide to borrow film reviewer Mark Kermode's hair for the evening and (b) go into that admittedly funny routine about the colon? I almost expected Hugh Laurie to appear from somewhere ready for a rerun of one of their old sketches.

But it has spurned me on to wanting to see Lost in Translation again. It's out on Region One DVD I see. How tempting.
Philosophy The Institute of Public Policy Research has suggested that religious education should be less exclusive, even to the extent of covering 'atheism'. One of the ideas is to rename the lessons "Religious, Philosophical and Moral education". Which means that the acronym would change to R.P.M. Looks like School of Rock is becoming a reality ...