Friday, August 27, 2004

Jerry Springer - The Opera



I admit that it's my own stupid fault but I thought the fact that I hate Jerry Springer-style chat shows, Fat people, Americans, fat Americans, Musicals, Opera and crude language would be a positive asset to enjoying this satirical piece of theatre. I also thought it was about time I came off my Drama Graduate/Playwright high horse and saw something other than Chekhov, Wilde or Coward for a change.

The first thing that really annoyed me was that James had found us crap seats up in the Gods. However, it turns out that this wasn't his fault and placated by the pretty toilet paper in the ladies, I settled into the show. After 20 minutes I just wanted it to end. You know, just like that feeling you get when you watch any film starring Nicole Kidman? The show offended and irritated me. I don't mind rude words, so long as they have comic value, for instance "bollocks", but I felt uncomfortable listening to such a pile of filth. My companions however seemed to revel in it which annoyed me even more. I'm an old fashioned girl and I cannot condone coarse behaviour...which might lead some to question why I will be marrying James in a few weeks, but I digress.

My only artistic criticism is that I felt they hadn't gone far enough when creating the guests - the baby fetishist was pretty good but I think they should have hammed it up a bit more. After feeling that the show couldn't get much worse and a nice ice cream in the interval, I was further offended by the blasphemy in Act II - everyone knows that Jesus wasn't a fat man!

The staging was on the whole pretty good and I was impressed by the musicians and performers, apart from the chap playing Jerry himself. I also felt that the performance suffered a real lack of direction in Act II - it was hard to make out what they were getting at.
To conclude, I cannot fault the production itself, it's just no good for a highbrow like me. It is perfectly possible to achieve entertainment for entrainment's sake without being outrageous.

This show achieved everything it set out to achieve and perhaps for this reason I would even go so far as to say I hated it more than Les Miserables. Sorry Stewart Lee, I am a great admirer of your work in general but I think you should go back to working with Richard Herring.
I am also cross that we didn't get badges at the end, my friend Louisa did and she only went a week before us!

Staging and music score 6/10
Personal Enjoyment score- 1.5/10 (this score is solely for the toilet paper)

NEILL says:

Why would you want badges for a show you didn't even like? That's mental.


JAMES says:

I'll probably be sleeping on the sofa for this, but I don't think it's really fair to say you were too highbrow for the show. There were some intelligent themes discussed in there, and it is a frickin' Opera after all. Maybe it would be better to say you're too refined. I don't know, I'll throw it open to the readers. Vote in the comments about whether Debbie is too refined or too high-brow.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Steve Wright in the Afternoon

(Sleazy Man Blathering on your Radio)

JAMES says:

This one might be a bit of a rant, I’m afraid. I think I used to think that Steve Wright was quite cool, back when he was on Radio 1. Probably something to do with Arnie & the Terminators. Having recently been exposed to his show, this time on ‘adult’ radio 2, I feel ashamed for little 12 year old James, and if I could meet him a la ‘Disney’s the Kid’ I would be forced to shake some sense in to him, as much as it would hurt me. There are few people in the world I admire more than myself, but in this instance I readily admit I was a chump. But nowhere near as much of a chump as Steve Wright.

The radio DJs job is to play records and talk, in varying degrees, and while Steve’s musical taste is about as good as his face is attractive, I would gladly listen to Girls Aloud on constant repeat from 2 til 5 if it would save me from his ramblings. It’s like having the boring tedious person in the office who thinks his opinions are so great that every conversation has to be conducted in as high a voice as possible on the radio, only he’s surrounded by paid sycophants who have to pretend that everything he says is amusing or insightful, thus swelling his already formidable ego. He constantly reads out ‘Factoids’ that half the time are just rubbish gossip ,the other half old urban legends that everyone knows are made up. He thinks having an agony aunt pretending to be Elvis is so funny he should do it every week. He has an old lady on all the time. He does the kind of impressions that people who can’t do impressions do, all the time. He sleazes over his young female guests so much, I have found out for the first time the physical sensation of one’s skin crawling. He even has an astrology section.

All this could be forgiven if it wasn’t for the fact he is unbelievably stupid. His ‘Big Quiz’ is like the Richard and Judy quiz, only easier, and yet he still mispronounces most of it and gets the answers wrong. And when he tries to put one of his opinions across, it is so spectacularly ill-informed and just plain wrong that you want to give the radio a clip round the ear. And no-one does lazy clich├ęs like Steve Wright does lazy clich├ęs. For a couple of weeks his radio station was taken over by Mark Goodier, and it actually got better.

Now you might be wondering why even at this very minute I am listening to his show. It’s not as you might expect being inflicted on me in a work environment. I have the hallowed position of being in control of the radio at the moment. I could just change over. But if I changed over every time there was a DJ I didn’t like then there isn’t a radio station I could stay with all day, and forever changing is too much trouble. Therefore, for the sake of Wogan in the mornings and funny angry old people on Jeremy Vine’s call-in show I put up with Steve Wright. Until he just pushes me too far…

1.7/10 - Let’s get him fired!

Spam E-mail

(Irritating phenomena of modern life)

NEILL says:

Relentlessly sunny optimist that I am, I try to look on the bright side of having my inbox constantly clogged up with endless unsolicited junk e-mails about penis enlargement, dodgy pharmaceuticals and 'shaved teens'. ‘What bright side?’, you may well ask. Well, I sometimes find there is a certain dark poetry to be appreciated in the largely unexamined field of the Spam Subject Line. Here are my all-time top 5 personal favourites, in descending order of grotesque hilarity:

5) Get more Ass than a Toilet Seat
4) Tear Her Shrimp Bed Apart
3) Chess board genitals
2) Is the Mail on Sunday more Planet Dumbass's market?
Ha ha ha! No. Thanks for asking, though. The absolute winner is fantastically, staggeringly minging:
1) Just because they're OLD... doesn't mean they don't need DICK!!!

Okay, so it's not much of a bright side.


JAMES says:

The amateur housewives were not free, and my penis stayed the same size. I'm starting to wonder if the whole thing might be some kind of scam.


Friday, August 13, 2004

‘The Yellow Wallpaper’

by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

JAMES says:

Fantastic 19th century short story about yellow wallpaper. I think this is going to have to be one of those times where I’m not going to tell you anything more about it so as not to spoil things. Instead I’m just going to say it’s great, go and read it. Look, there’s a link right there. You can read it right now, this minute. For free. Yeah, I thought that’d get you attention. Go on, then.


Stagg and Groome

(Mismatched Crimefighting Duo)

NEILL says:

STAGG is a tough, unconventional maverick San Francisco Cop! With antlers! He plays by his own rules but dammit he GETS RESULTS! This is one cop you don't want to BUTT HEADS WITH!

GROOME is a 1950's rural English Groom! With 2 flat caps - one for WEARING and one for HIDING BEHIND!!!

Together, they are the deadliest fighting force the criminal fraternity has ever seen. Together, they are…


Their Secret Origin: Stagg and Groome were created over the course of a long afternoon at the UK Web & Mini Comix Thing in Stepney (where I won an AWARD), in the quiet spells between hordes of desparate love-crazed teenage Japanese girls seeking my autograph. Yes, amazingly enough, there were quiet spells. Of course, this was before I won my AWARD. Did I mention I won an AWARD?

The funniest part of the whole thing was people's responses. My day was absolutely made by the deadpan response of a certain independent comics publisher who didn't seem to be laughing uproariously for some reason. Helpfully, we explained it to him. "Yes," he said with a pained expression. "I get it."

Movie rights are available for negotiation! Talk to my people!

9/10 - Stagg and Groome Movie Poster