Tag Archives: comedy

H2G2 continued

douglas adams

Douglas Adams was something of a hero of ours – I’ve always loved his books, and my brother (and his schoolmate James) even adapted one of them – Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – into a play that still gets performed around the world.

So its with some trepidation that I’ve picked up his estate’s authorised sequel to the Hitchhiker’s guide series – ‘And another thing, part six of three’, (ironically not available on Kindle) by Irish children’s writer Eoin Colfer (famous for Artemis Fowl et al).

I’m working my way through it slowly and not too sure what to make of it yet; full thoughts to follow in the next week or two. I’m a fan of Eoin but I’m not sure this is a mantle I’d have wanted to take up. Unlike The Wheel of Time, people were mostly happy with the H2G2 canon – it didn’t need any further storytelling. But – I’m not done yet – so will reserve judgement.

One immediate thing that I’m not sure whether to like or not – Eoin quotes Tenacious D on the opening page of the book. Now, I love the D and Douglas probably would have thought they were OK… but it doesn’t feel right for the H2G2 books. Maybe for Zaphod, but Arthur? He’s more of a Radio 3 sort of guy. And this was never a series of books about Zaphod…

Charismatic train guards

Usually, the train guards on Southwest trains are fairly unsympathetic. They’ll barge their way through a massively overcrowded train asking to see people’s tickets, trampling on old ladies and kicking children in the stomach in the process.*

Today, in an inspired moment, our guard told off the people who had left bags on the seats. “No matter how many times I tell you all, some people still left bags on the seats despite the fact there were people standing. I don’t want to see any bags on the seats when I walk through the train!”

Genius. Sometimes I think the larger the crowd of people the more the authority figures need to treat them like itinerant children… at the very least, it makes for a few guilty looks and a selection of wry smiles…!



*not quite, but… y’know.

Lonely Island – Turtleneck and Chain – album impressions

Ever since I was 11 years old I’ve been trying to work out what music I liked, other than the Beatles / classical music / west-end musical / intricate guitary combo I was brought up with. I remember buying the Cranberries album in 1993/4 for Zombie, and feeling a bit unsettled that – other than Zombie – it wasn’t quite what I expected. And since then I found my feet in a rock/alt rock/folk rock and occasional hip-hop melange that feels like “me” when I turn the volume up.

One slightly more niche genre that keeps rearing its head is musical comedy, and more specifically – comedy rap. My brother introduced me to Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince when I was 11 years old and I distinctly remember thinking that the song “I think I can beat Mike Tyson” was one of the funniest things to be composed ever at the time (I now know it’s not). In it, Will Smith challenges Mike Tyson to a fight and gets seven types of crap kicked out of him.

Needless to say, when The Lonely Island materialised with their epochal ‘Incredibad’ album a couple of years ago, featuring such works of self-deprecating parody as “On a boat” and “Like a boss” (all LI videos are NSFW, btw) I felt that the void that had been made as the Fresh Prince evolved into Wiki-wiki-Will Smith had once again been filled. So it was with not a little anticipation that I checked out some tracks from the new album, Turtleneck and Chain.

Sadly, for me, for the most part, it doesn’t live up to the heights of its predecessor. The tunes aren’t as catchy, the raps aren’t as articulate or funny. But two things made me smile.

First, the song “Rocky”, in which Andy Samberg challenges Rocky to a fight and gets seven types of crap kicked out of him. Sound familiar? I wonder if it was a deliberate homage to the Fresh Prince (in which case it’s clever-ish) or if its (in)advertant plagiarism (in which case, not so much).

Second, “Jack Sparrow”. There are few people whose swagger I’d like to match, but Captain Jack has a certain slurry je ne sais quois that has got to make for a hell of a party trick. Michael Bolton feels the same way – check it out:

The Infidel Movie – Baddiel, Djalili, Schiff & co…

…and not forgetting my brotherThe Infidel Movie is is the next film due for release from Slingshot’s slate, and tonight we got invited to the first UK screening of it – for ‘cultural influencers’, and apparently siblings who blog incessantly about soup…

I was honoured, as ever, to be included in the audience which included not a small number of celebrities, luminaries, writers, producers, directors and friends, and delighted and proud to enjoy this wonderfully heartwarming, funny, tightly orchestrated, beautifully soundtracked film.

For those not in the know, it’s the story of MAHMUD NASIR (Djalili), the ‘Homer Simpson’ of Islam, finding out that he has to impress his son’s father-in-law-to-be (a fundamentalist Islamic cleric) within an hour of discovering that he was adopted, and his real/birth parents are actually Jewish. He seeks council from his nemesis, Yank Jewish London Cabbie LENNY (Schiff), and tutelage in what it means to be a good Jew.

As controversial as that might potentially sound, the film manages to handle the tension and controversy without descending into twee-ness; it delivers a happy ending without a Deus Ex Machina, the music and pacing and humour is wonderful, the characterisation is compelling and the story is heartwarming in the extreme. I find myself wanting to go to both a muslim wedding and a bar mitzvah, befriend Richard Schiff and go drinking with Omid (although as a Baha’i he probably doesn’t drink…)…

Anyway, needless to say I recommend it, and I hope you all go and see it in the cinemas when it is released, around April time I think (become a Facebook Fan to get the news as it comes), and buy it on DVD or Blu-Ray when it comes out later in the year.

It is a wonderful movie…

I’m on a boat

For people who catch me referencing the Lonely Island over the next couple of months, it’s the fault of the inimitable @patrickyiu, who made the mistake of telling me about the following song whilst we were on a boat. The video is slightly NSFW, if you work in the kind of work environment that frowns on excessive swearing, or, erm, boats.

I’m going through that phase I get of obsession with things I quite like, and am listening to the album more or less on repeat and annoying everyone I know through repeated reference to the lyrics, video, etc. It’s almost as if I believe that things get funnier through endless repetition (they totally do)…

If anyone has any suggestions on music that will get these songs out of my head, or an explanation of (or cure for) my love of musical comedy, let me know.