First up, I will address the two sucky things which have happened this week, namely the deaths of Jazz singer Leon Redbone and the actor Paul Darrow. While the former only recently came on my radar, his contribution to the scene was amazing, his warm yet laid back vocal stylings were the ultimate in cool… Snappy dresser too- I was thinking of basing a look on him for Upton a few years ago. I decided against it when a friend said it made me look like a pimp.
Paul Darrow.. Well he was Kerr Avon, the main character in Blake’s 7 and an integral part of my growing up, even if it was watching the series on video rather than on first transmission. I strongly recommend tracking down his autobiography called “You’re Him Aren’t You?”, it is an entertaining read even if he does come across as being a bit full of himself. It is available on Amazon and the Big Finish website. Once upon a Summertime, Brett and I would hire a Peddlo in the Town Park and pretend to be Blake and Avon on flight deck of the Liberator.
Films wise, I have seen the Tolkien biopic which was excitingly called… … … Tolkien and it was a good fairly simple telling of his early life told partially through flashbacks while he suffers delirium in the trenches of the first world war. I would say it wasn’t exactly what I expected but I don’t really know what it was I expected… I guess I was partially expecting a Dennis Potter-like mash up of his life and his writings but it focuses purely on the real world with any hints of Hobbits and Orcs being limited to shadows and shapes in the fog of battle, it leans towards the intellectual process of how he formed his worlds and languages. There is a bit a nod to the School Story genre with the early days of his University studies being reflected in a formation of a group and social misfits and outcasts and gives another side to his character.
I took Heather to see the Aladdin live action remake which has Will Smith stepping into the shoes (lamp?) of the late great Robin Williams, wisely Smith chooses not to try and impersonate Williams and do his own spin on the Genie which is… Will Smith playing Will Smith, only this time he is blue. There are some substantial changes to the storyline with a romantic subplot for the genie being added and a lot more of the genie as a character. It has been a long long time since I last saw the original so I cannot really say how much of the Jasmine/Aladdin plot has been tweeked but there are some amusingly awkward exchanges as Aladdin realises he is out of his depth, I also think the genie and Aladdin set up is more buddy orientated then before. Jafar, is well played and goes beyond the evil Arabic Sorcerer stereotype and is at least a believable villain. The Bottom Line: is it as good as the original? No. Is it bad? No. I would certainly recommend you go and out and see it even just if it is for curiosity value.
I finally saw Avengers: Endgame which was a satisfactory closure to the film series with plenty of plot twists, action and a number character moments. It is difficult to talk about without posting spoilers but here are some relatively spoiler free favourite moments: Washed Up- Beer Bellied alcoholic Thor, Ironman admitting he thought that Rocket was a Build-a-Bear until he started talking and the Incredible Hulk giving out autographs. There are a couple of slow moments in the middle but it helps build up to the climax and in the process explains a few plot points in Infinity War.
Tuesday Night Heather and I went to see Beatles Spoof/Tribute band The Rutles fronted by honorary Python Neil Innes, it was a loud night and Heather found it amusing that the majority of the audience had white hair and had hearing aids, there was of course that one loud member of the audience who had had a few too many… It was fun trying to identify which songs were being sent up, though there were some proper tributes to George Harrison who helped fund the film The Rutles. Luckily for Heather I was available as she had completely misinterpreted the booking, she thought it started at 7:30 and she’d be easily able to get a train. This was not the case, 7:30 was when the stage door was opened- the gig started at 9 and finished at 11:15. However since I was there it was not an issue, though having to navigate the Wolverhampton Ring Road on the way back was fun as ever. I had intended to go back down the motorway but for some reason it was closed and I was told to follow diversion signs that weren’t there. The venue was called the Robin 2 and was in the Black Country Town of Bilston and was quite a good music venue with gigs seemingly every night and it houses a capacity of 700. I will admit the restaurant was a bit meh and the drinks a bit on the pricey side, but it wouldn’t be a proper gig if you didn’t have some slightly dodgy food and over priced drink would it?
Heather stayed over for two nights and she found herself highly amused by the 50 Things article in the recent Celestial Toyroom, which is the monthly fanzine for the DWAS (Doctor Who Appreciation Society) and was edited by my pal Alan, the guy I visited about a month ago and who has a life sized Dalek in his attic. I showed her an episode of the 60s detective show Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) called “The Ghost Who Saved the Bank at Monte Carlo” because it guest stars Nicholas Courtney and Roger Delgado, I think she was entertained. She certainly squeeed when she recognised Courtney and Delgado, but did keep pointing out that Hopkirk has a shadow and being a ghost he shouldn’t. Some people eh?