Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Peter Gabriel & The New Blood Orchestra - Hammersmith Apollo 23/24 March 2011

What a wonderful, wonderful night. The best PG gig I've seen. Now the long wait for the 3D Blu ray that was filmed that night.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Reason Project: Bible Contradictions

Cannon Films Logo

Blimey. This brings back memories. Cannon was a film production company that was bought by Israeli cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus in 1979. During the 80's the company was responsible for some of the best "worst" films ever made. Check out this list of notable efforts....

Death Wish 1 to... whatever
Masters Of The Universe
King Solomon's Mines
Over The Top
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
The Delta Force

And.... I kid you not, Puss In Boots, a 1988 musical version of the story starring Christopher Walken as "Puss" and Jason Connery. However, the logo resonates with me because there was a 3 screen Cannon Cinema near where I grew up, and they'd play it before the start of each film.

Happy days.

I also remember that (for what seemed like an age) they only ever played the same 5 or 6 adverts before each film.

"If you're drinking Bacardi".

You had to be there.

Oh..... and for a while they would slip in the video for the Kate Bush song "Sensual World".

Cinema in the 80's was awesome.

P.S. BLOODY HELL!! Found this on youtube! This was the add that seemed to run in the cinema forever. All those happy memories of seeing both good and (really) bad films at the Cannon Cinema Tunbridge Wells come flooding back.

Monday, 31 January 2011

John Barry (3 November 1933 – 30 January 2011)

Composer John Barry, famous for his work on the James Bond films, Born Free and Out of Africa has died aged 77 of a heart attack.

One of the most celebrated film composers of his generation, Barry scored more than 90 movies over the course of his career.

But it is for his work on a dozen Bond films that Barry will be widely remembered. One of his best-known theme songs was Goldfinger, belted out by Shirley Bassey in 1964.

His Oscars were from other films: Born Free, which earned him two statuettes, The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves.

He was honoured with an OBE in 1999 for his services to music, and was awarded a Bafta Fellowship in 2005.

Cinema childhood

John Barry Prendergast was born in York in 1933. His father ran a chain of cinemas and his mother was a pianist.

In a Guardian interview in 1999, Barry described how he fell in love with film as a toddler.

"My father had eight theatres in the north of England. I remember him picking me up, age three and a half, and taking me through these swing doors to the back of the stalls and holding me up over the barrier at the back. And I remember seeing this mouse, this big black and white mouse."

Barry trained as a classical pianist but turned his attention to jazz. He played the trumpet in the army, and in the late 1950s formed jazz-rock group the John Barry Seven.

"I didn't love [pop] music, I wasn't passionate about it. But I did want to be a professional musician," said Barry in a 1994 interview.

"So we literally listened to all that was coming out of America at that time, whether it was Bill Haley or Freddy Bell and the Bellboys, and the first concerts we did, we just copied all their stuff and did it."

The group teamed up with singer Adam Faith, and had hits in the UK with What Do You Want? and Poor Me.

Barry worked on television series and commercials, and broke into movie work in 1960's Beat Girl.

His work brought him to the attention of producers of the first Bond movie Dr No.

"The James Bond movies came because we were successful in the pop music world, with a couple of big instrumental hits. They thought I knew how to write instrumental hit music," Barry said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1991.

His arrangement of Monty Norman's James Bond theme led to him composing scores for 11 films in the series, among them Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.

Barry's work on the Bond theme led to a court case in the late 1990s when Norman successfully asserted his authorship of the tune.

But Barry's Bond scores showcased his diverse range: big bands, guitar riffs, sweeping strings and jazz and Latin beats.

He worked with Duran Duran and A-ha during the 1980s, on Bond themes for A View To A Kill and The Living Daylights.

He also made innovative use of a synthesiser in music for On Her Majesty's Secret Service and his theme for TV's The Persuaders.

His first Oscars came in 1967 for his Born Free score and its iconic title theme.

More Academy Awards followed for the soundtracks he wrote for The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves.

Barry also won four Grammys, a Bafta for The Lion in Winter and a Golden Globe for Out of Africa.

His many other film scores included Walkabout, The Deep, Somewhere in Time, Body Heat, Jagged Edge, Peggy Sue Got Married, Chaplin and Cry, the Beloved Country. His most recent film score featured in the 2001 war thriller Enigma.

In 2002, Barry was named an Honorary Freeman of the City of York, an honour he received at a venue in the city where he once used to play trumpet in the 1950s.

Barry was divorced three times - his second wife was the actress Jane Birkin. He is survived by his wife Laurie, his four children and five grandchildren.

He once recalled, surveying his vast body of work: "When I look back on it, I think, how the hell did I do all this?"


From Russia With Love
Born Free
You Only Live Twice
The Lion in Winter
Midnight Cowboy
Diamonds are Forever
Out of Africa
Dances with Wolves

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Another great passes away. R.I.P Gerry.

Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty has died at the age of 63 after suffering a long illness.
His career high came in the 1970s and included the anthemic Baker Street and Stuck in the Middle with You, recorded with his band Stealers Wheel.
Rafferty had battled a drink problem and spent time in hospital in Bournemouth with liver failure.
He was born in Paisley and began his musical career as a busker on the London Underground.
Rafferty died peacefully at home, with his daughter Martha at his bedside.
He had recorded and toured with Billy Connolly as part of the Humblebums, before forming Stealers Wheel with his friend Joe Egan in 1972.
Stuck in the Middle with You was a hit in the early 70s and also appeared on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's debut film Reservoir Dogs in 1992.
Baker Street charted in the UK and US in 1978 after Rafferty began his solo career and still achieves airplay on radio stations around the world.
It is understood his funeral will be held in Paisley later this month.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Captain Beefheart. Another Great Passes Away.

Don Van Vliet, dies aged 69

American musician and painter Don Van Vliet, best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart, has died aged 69.

Van Vliet's death in California, from complications from multiple sclerosis, was announced by the Michael Werner Gallery in New York.
Van Vliet was "one of the most original recording artists of his time", the gallery said in a statement.
He rose to fame in the 1960s with a unique style of blues-inspired rock & roll, later devoting himself to art.
Artists including Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Franz Ferdinand, Oasis, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The White Stripes are among those who have cited him as an influence.
'Experimental rock & roll'
"Don Van Vliet was a complex and influential figure in the visual and performing arts," the gallery said in a statement.
"He is perhaps best known as the incomparable Captain Beefheart who, together with his Magic Band, rose to prominence in the 1960s with a totally unique style of blues-inspired, experimental rock & roll."
"This would ultimately secure Van Vliet's place in music history as one of the most original recording artists of his time. After two decades in the spotlight as an avant-garde composer and performer, Van Vliet retired from performing to devote himself wholeheartedly to painting and drawing."
"Like his music, Van Vliet's lush paintings are the product of a truly rare and unique vision."
Van Vliet combined peculiar tones with music that drew on blues, jazz, psychedelia and a barrage of other genres.
The musician recorded under the name of Captain Beefheart with members of the Magic Band through 1982.
Captain Beefheart's first two releases with the Magic Band received positive reviews from music connoisseurs but did not connect with the wider public.
But he soon began a close creative relationship with Frank Zappa, a former high school classmate, who helped him forge his way toward redefining popular music.
In recent years, Van Vliet devoted himself to painting and drawing.
A painting by the musician was on sale at the Michael Werner Gallery earlier this month at a price of $40,000 (£26,000).
Van Vliet is survived by his wife of more than 40 years, Jan Van Vliet.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Godalming Christmas Lights 2010

The Hole 3D

This is the "Den Of Geek" review of "The Hole." I'm presenting it here because having just seen it, I pretty much agree with the reviewer.

Joe Dante

The Hole review

Luke Savage

Director Joe Dante returns with a new feature, The Hole, which returns to the family horror themes of his 80s classic, Gremlins. But does it have that film’s bite? Luke finds out...

Published on Sep 20, 2010

For anyone who a) grew up in the 80s, b) watched movies, and c) liked watching great movies, The Hole in 3D is more than just a film. Seven years after his last cinematic outing, 2003's Looney Tunes: Back In Action, Joe Dante is back. To some, that may not mean much. In the last two decades, only three other films, Small Soldiers (1998), Matinee(1993) and Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), can lay claim to bearing Dante's cinematic fingerprints. Hardly a prolific output.
But in the 80s, Dante was king. He made Gremlins (I could end it there, really, but I won't), sent River Phoenix into space (Explorers), put a miniature Dennis Quaid inside Martin Short (Innerspace), and had Tom Hanks, before he went all serious, star in what may be the most hard-to-categorise film of his career (The 'burbs). That's not even mentioning The Howling, which seems to have lost a bit of its shine with the near endless stream of inferior sequels it's since spawned.
All of which might be lost on the target audience of The Hole, which flicks between feeling like a stretched out episode of Eerie Indiana (no bad thing) and Flatliners for kids (ditto). Although Disturbia may be a closer match in terms of plot.
Screenwriter Mark L. Smith takes that film's structure of three kids bored in the suburbs and simply replaces the serial killer living opposite with a really big hole. So, instead of asking themselves if David Morse really is a bad guy, The Hole's young trio must investigate what lies beneath their garage.
It's familiar territory for Dante, who's always enjoyed exploring the darkness and quirkiness that lies beneath the facade of banal suburbia. Here, it's simply writ large and a little less subversive. Instead of suspected cannibalism or rampaging homeowners, we get killer clowns and hobbling ghosts wreaking havoc amidst the picket fences.
But this being, you know, for kids, it's never that scary. Save for a terrifically creepy bathroom scene, it's horror wrapped in cotton wool. Even the kids don't feel that worried by their plight. "You've got a gateway to Hell under your house," one says, "and that is really cool". Gone are the terrified inhabitants of Gremlins' snow-lined streets. In their place we have blasé, precocious teens who oscillate between curious and nonchalant.
In that sense, it lacks the Dante bite of old. Where Small Soldiers was a kids movie for adults, The Hole is just a kids movie. But it's a pretty good one, at that. If it misses the madcap energy of Gremlins, it makes up for that with enough reminders of Dante's eye for a great set piece. A hermit's den of hanging lights dazzles, literally, a swimming pool scene feels like a childhood nightmare come to life, and the climax recalls the off-kilter excess of his segment in The Twilight Zone: The Movie.
They're made even better by 3D too. The Hole was shot in 3D, making it a cut above the glut of recent pretenders who've tried to cash in on the craze after the fact. As with most films, it takes a few minutes for the eyes to adjust (a pizza eating scene in the opening few minutes was so vivid I thought I'd walked into an advert for a well known pizza establishment by mistake), but when they do the film's low key charms shine a little brighter.
And, of course, it's always good to see Dick Miller, even if he does now look like Eli Wallach in The Holiday. He doesn't get a line, but he still nabs the film's biggest laugh, narrowly beating an Eric Cartman talking doll.
That's the biggest appeal of The Hole. It may be Dante-lite, but it's still Dante. And it's great to have him back.
3 stars

I liked it. An entertaining, if flawed, throwback to the family "horror" films of the 80's. It's also just good to see Joe Dante's name on the screen again. Let's hope we don't have to wait an age for his next film.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Tunes I Like Right Now....Update

Updated the "Tunes I Like Right Now" section.

Peter Gabriel - "Après Moi" from the album "Scratch My Back"

Porcupine Tree - "Blackest Eyes" from the album "In Absentia." They're one of the greatest bands that nobodies ever heard of.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela - "Orion" from the album "Rodrigo Y Gabriela"

Yello - "Tiger Dust" from the album "The Eye". You either love Yello or hate 'em.

Friday, 26 November 2010


A little taste of Intruder. The New Blood Orchestra recorded versions of Peter's songs for a forthcoming album at Air Studios in June.

I'm really looking forward to this release. I loved the "Scratch My Back" album, but a whole record of Peter's songs re-recorded with an orchestra has me salivating.