Sunday, 15 May 2016

Eurovision 2016

The Eurovision Singing Competiton is the one night of the year when mannys try to be as fabulous as cats and to sing as well as cats do, but silly manny politics always gets in the way. Here are some thoughts on this year's contest...

Azerbaijan want to do the next James Bond film's theme song. Bulgaria want to be in the next Tron film.

France was more concerned with persuading British mannys to stay in the European Broadcasting Union, by singing their song partly in English, than in winning Eurovision.

Poland wanted to attract the USA to Eurovision by spelling "color" the American way.

I think the Australian entry's costume was borrowed from Servalan. Austria (not the same country; that's very confusing for a cat you know) sang the closing theme song to a Miyazaki film.

The UK's own entry was not nearly as good as last year's. Here it is for you to watch:

In fact none of the songs in the contest were really great when compared with previous years. We cynical old cats have a theory that these days the best songs get voted out during the semi-finals, such as a rude manny performing in the nude with cuddly doggys - that sounds like the best Eurovision entry evar!

In the final analysis the best song of the show by miles was done by Sweden but was not their entry into the Competition.

Love Love Peace Peace was a sketch and song from the interval, and is one of the best things Eurovision has ever done (something a cat does not say lightly). I never thought anyone would out-meta Lithuania's We Are The Winners song from 2006!

The voting was even more obviously political than usual - for starters someone in Blackpool who spoke French hacked the satellite to give France's votes (explaining why the UK got such few votes from France).

But most of the politics was around Russia and Ukraine. Russia are perennial Eurovision baddys, but this year they sent a good song - my favourite (proper) song this year - and a nice manny to sing it, not a baddy at all.

But Ukraine sent a manny to sing about how much of a baddy Stalin was, and I think if there is one thing that everyone in Eurovision can agree on then it is that Stalin was bad, so they won.

"I want my great-grandmother back you son of a bitch!"

Sunday, 8 May 2016

That Talbot is but shadow of himself

The new series of The Hollow Crown has begun to be shown on BBC TV, starting with Henry VI Part 1.

That's the play that has Talbot "the terror of the French" in it, a manny so scary that when the Frenchmannys captured him:
"In iron walls they deem'd me not secure;
So great fear of my name 'mongst them was spread,
That they supposed I could rend bars of steel,
And spurn in pieces posts of adamant:
Wherefore a guard of chosen shot I had,
That walked about me every minute-while;
And if I did but stir out of my bed,
Ready they were to shoot me to the heart."

Even Scary Cat is impressed by that.

Sadly this was a very abridged* version of Henry VI Part 1, and of its 111 minute duration, less than an hour was spent on Henry VI Part 1, the rest was doing most of Henry VI Part 2 up to when York declares his intention to be king in Act 5 Scene 1.

This meant that there was very little of Talbot, even though they got in Philip Glenister to play him - not my first choice but easily in the top 3 - and so he only had a couple of scenes before going

All of the other casting was excellent as well, from Hugh Bonneville as Gloucester to Samuel West as Winchester, to Laura Frances-Morgan as Joan, to Anton Lesser as Exeter.

A lot was cut out of the plays to make this be more of a Shakespeare film, and some thing were changed around to make Somerset (Ben Miles) into more of a proper film baddy - not that he needed much help.

The next Hollow Crown is going to be even more confusing for us cats, as it will be called Henry VI Part 2 but it will really be mostly Henry VI Part 3. It may make for a better film since there are lots of battles that I expect mannys who like cinematic action will like.

* Considering the last time the BBC adapted Henry VI (in 1983), parts 1 and 2 ran to six-and-a-half hours between them. That should tell you how massively abridged this new one is, mew.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Man in the Elegant Room

Terry Nation isn't just the creator of Blakes 7 and the Daleks, he is also a great writer of telefantasy detective episodes such as The Avengers, The Persuaders! and, in this case, Department S.

The Manny in the Elegant Room sees Jason King (the real one this time), Stewart Sullivan and Annabelle Hurst investigating a mysterious, fourth wall-breaking room. Of course we all know how good Terry Nation is at writing mysteries, and this one doesn't even have the same solution as Mission to Destiny does!

The main guest star of the week is Stratford Johns, who was in an episode of I Claudius. Unusually for Department S he doesn't turn out to be the main baddy, but his character does die in a manner remarkably similar to that of Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso - killed by his wife.

As though being written by Terry Nation and having Peter Wyngarde and Stratford Johns and Joel Fabiani (purr) weren't reason enough to give this 5 out of 5, the final scene where the set is disassembled around the three main cast members is outstanding and warrants it all by itself.