Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Dick Twittington 46: Moderately funny

This week on my Twitter feed, my internal calendar is all confused at going to Shakespeare's Globe in the winter.

Ray Cooney's still working? RAY COONEY'S STILL ALIVE?
12:14 PM - 22 Jan 2014

"81-year-old directs farce he wrote decades ago" suggests just the kind of radical theatre I expect from the Menier
12:17 PM - 22 Jan 2014

There is NO earthly reason I should have Madonna's "Dear Jessie" stuck in my head. And yet...
2:55 PM - 22 Jan 2014

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Dick Twittington 45: "nipples showing through shirt"

This week on my Twitter feed, it's mainly all about the topless men. And then apparently I won an award! The two things may be related.

"So when did you get your new computer?" "Er, I think about a month ago... oh wait, it was this morning." I'm getting ALL the mentals today.
4:21 PM - 15 Jan 2014

@merseytart Production photos for Tovey's new play. You may need a lie down.
4:58 PM - 16 Jan 2014

"I haven't been on a bus in 10 years, ha ha!" Gosh, you must be terribly middle class. Well done you.
9:00 AM - 17 Jan 2014

Friday, 17 January 2014

Book review: Raising Steam

The latest terry Pratchett novel, or at least the later Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, sees the railways arrive in Ankh-Morpork in Raising Steam. Over the years the Discworld books have become the story of a society in a state of unstoppable progress, its landscape unrecognisable from the cod-mediaeval swords-and-sorcery spoof it started out as. Pratchett is the gently genial voice supporting progress and Raising Steam has particularly little patience for the Luddites and reactionaries of this world or his own: The arrival of trains on the Sto Plains proves the last straw for a breakaway group of religious dwarfs who start a terror campaign against the railway and the clacks machine (the telecommunication system introduced a few books ago.)

Of course racism, or at least speciesism, is behind a lot of this, and the recent integration of the goblins into Ankh-Morpork has put a lot of backs up. Pratchett's metaphors for the real world are getting, if anything, even less subtle than ever, but it's hard not to like how eloquently and passionately he argues against the sort of people who fight against change on principle. This isn't one of his funnier books unfortunately, and a lengthy buildup in the second half of the book ends in anticlimax, although that's kind of the point. Still enjoyable though.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Dick Twittington 44: A potted history of Caucasian rap

This week on my Twitter feed is another fairly quiet one. I'd say "quality over quantity" but I think the most cursory of glances will confirm that it's not quality.

"He's NEVER played gay before!" Except in Annually Retentive. And Ashes To Ashes.
4:04 PM - 8 Jan 14

"Vietnamese Street Food: 3 baguettes for £1!" Ah, those famous Vietnamese baguettes.
9:20 AM - 9 Jan 14

Did we know this? Looks like it's not just me and @trpw who've noticed The Faction: Virtual SRB!
12:47 PM - 9 Jan 14

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Dick Twittington 43: Bullocks

This week on my Twitter feed was the first of 2014. It was the first week of 2014 elsewhere as well, but that's not important right now.

Happy New Year, the Twitter. Let's hope 2014 blesses the world with the greatest gift of all: Less Barlow on the telly.
12:02 AM - 1 Jan 14

2014's first Theatrical Spot: Noma Dumezweni dodging my friend Phill & calling him "darlin'" by the Noël Coward stage door.
2:14 PM - 1 Jan 14

Well, thanks to the Odeon Leicester Square selling the same seats twice, I guess we're not seeing Sandra Bullock In Space today!
4:17 PM - 1 Jan 14

Monday, 6 January 2014

Book review: Heartshaped Box

I've made, if not a tradition, then at least a bit of a habit of reading ghost stories over Christmas. Having exhausted the more traditional fare in recent years I ended up with something not quite as cosy as the Dickens or James standards I normally get through, but technically a ghost story all the same. Joe Hill's Heartshaped Box has a very up-to-date premise, in which there's a ghost for sale on the internet: Jude, an ageing rock star with a fondness for collecting the gruesome and arcane sees the ultimate addition to his collection on an online auction site (for legal reasons it's made very clear that it's not eBay.) When he actually receives the package there is indeed a ghost in there, but instead of the docile old man he's been promised he gets the late stepfather of one of his ex-girlfriends, who thinks Jude mistreated his stepdaughter and wants revenge.

I found this an interesting horror novel, a genre I don't really read that much of any more, and as well as doing the suspense elements well there's a satisfying nastiness to it as well. The ghost's true motivations aren't entirely hard to guess but it makes for a pretty grim turn to the story as well. Maybe not exactly festive, but then I do appreciate an antidote.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Dick Twittington 42: #ShitsingHair

For the last week of 2013 on my Twitter feed, Christmas happens. This may not be an entirely surprising turn of events.

Happy Christmukah, The Twitter.
9:47 AM - 25 Dec 13

Man with, beard, Christmas jumper & baby strapped to chest in Dulwich Park. I can feel Twitter's ovaries exploding from here.
12:27 PM - 25 Dec 13

Starting my review/awards of the year post, I've already awarded Best Nipples.I just can't fathom why the Oliviers committee didn't want me.
2:08 PM - 25 Dec 13

Nodded off. Dreamt Lord Lucan resurfaced on Come Dine With Me.
7:21 PM - 25 Dec 13