Television Addict 1

I have cable TV for the first time in my life. I also have wireless broadband at home for the first time. Yes, look at me. I know what year it is! So the combination has led to a lot watching of TV shows. And current stuff! Not just Press Gang on DVD. As it’s finale season…

The Office (US)
I know people who feel it’s a crime to watch this show. You are missing out. It’s taken the place that Arrested Development left in my heart. If you only know the UK version, well, a lot has changed. Its more of an ensemble piece. Every character is great and have their own story. And there is more subplots – it’s the one thing the US are great at – building tension over weeks.

Steve Carell is amazing. Very different to Ricky Gervais. He’s not a mean soul, more of a loser. The Rainn Wilson/Dwight character is also very different now to the Gareth character. Rainn is a nerd. His perfect woman is an anime character. He loves Battlestar Galactica. The new character of Andy is possibly my favourite of them all.

But it’s the love story. Handled with beautiful subtlety. Season Two was the highlight. And after three years, I think they finally nodded again to the UK series, and turned a classic scene on it’s head. When Jim asks Pam out, quite publically, she says yes, and the season ends. It was such a great hour of TV.

Really, you’re missing out.

Well, it started of great. Television Sci Fi is always touch and go. We see so much in movies that the cheap production values and lack of planning really comes through. But the concept and the style is great. And they don’t try to be too much more that bubblegum adventure either.

Pity then that the season finale is so shit. Plot holes everywhere. The mystery has no pay off. It reminds me of the hollow feeling I had after Spiderman 3. I’ll watch next season, sure. But we expected a lot. And this show was built on hints and shadows and didn’t pay off.

If you’re a fan then you probably know what happened by now. Brilliant, eh?

They kind of lost their way for a bit, but they are back on track. There is a mission. The characters are in fascinating places. And always, it’s so well done. We’re getting answers thick and fast.

I just wonder how they are ever going to resolve it ALL. Like, how will they possibly tie up every single weird thing? How can there possibly be a single explanation that makes us go ‘of course!’? But I’m so there. So there.

Doctor Who
A new discovery. How could I not? It’s the one big geek show I’ve never discovered. And when I heard David Tennant based his Doctor on Jarvis cocker, I was set.

British Sci Fi has such a rich, peculiar history. It’s usually made on low budgets, so they usually have less spaceships, and less explosions (and less cast). And then there’s that British sense of humour, that Douglas Adams view of the universe. That’s all come into force in the new Doctor Who.

It doesn’t try to be American. Production-wise, it reminds me of Harry Potter. But it’s all about David Tennant as the Doctor. He will be a defining character for generations. The scripts are always brilliant – th cream of British writers (including my hero, Steven Moffat).

The episode just aired here was Human Nature, with the girl from Spaced/Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I’m so happy to be around for this. I want a sonic screwdriver light pen thing I saw on Amazon.

The Sopranos
When you watch TV on DVD, you get to a point where you go…one disc left, it’s almost over…what will I do now?

There are two episode left in the Sopranos. The stage is set for all hell to break loose. They’ve been killing people off, left right and centre. And they still manage to have something to say.

I loved the episode ‘Walk Like A Man’, all about AJ being the emotional boy after a break up, descending into depression, and all it says about being a tough guy in the modern day. This show is just so damn good, so sophisticated, without being flashy. The violence is down to earth, making it more disturbing. They still talk about people who died years ago, they aren’t just written out and forgotten.

What will I do without this show? I’ll have to visit Jersey one day. The bigger question though, is how will this all end? How do you end one of the greatest TV series of all time?

So that’s usually my Saturday. Watch TV on my computer until Doctor Who hits at 7pm or so. I’m going to miss it. Heroes, Lost and the Office are done. Sopranos is not far behind, and only a month or so of Doctor Who left. Sigh.

Maybe it’s time to go out and see my London more.


It’s almost dawn

I have been so busy.

And up so late.

I never get a chance to write.

So much stuff happened this week. Time to pull my socks up.

Planning a week where I do nothing but write emails and myspace messages to you all.

Then saving some money to see YOU soon.

And to pick up my reading slack. To get better on the guitar.

And do right.

Why not smile?


Where Have All The Billy Braggs Gone?

I have been writing a lot. I know. It’s an experiment.

Who are your heroes?

I know who mine are. Like most people, I have many, not just one. You see those people on the street who have just one sometimes. You can tell they want to be Keith Richards, or Liam Gallagher, or Woody Allen.

But I have many. How could I not? I’m just a big sponge for culture anyway. So many influences come rushing my way.

Just think for a second of how many people you’ve ever met in your life. Then add people you’ve read about, or seen. Then add fictional characters from movies, books and all. Must be thousands. Tens of thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands. How many names do you know? Friends, family, famous and fictional. How can it not rub off on you? How can you not have a million heroes.

But there’s one type of hero for me that I keep returning to. A bunch of guys with familiar character traits that make me think, and think often – I want to be like that.

Bruce Springsteen. Elvis Costello. Joe Strummer. Billy Bragg. Lloyd Cole. Paul Westerberg. More I can’t think of right now.

(Funnily enough, all men who were at their prime in the 80s as people)

It’s got nothing to do with the music, but them as people. There’s a mix of strength, of rocking, of doing, mixed with passion and emotion, and quite a bit of smarts. All those men you can imagine rolling up their sleeves and changing a car tire. All those men you can imagine have had their fair share of dark moments in love. And all those men are well read and are articulate.

And it’s the mix that’s most important of all. Of Tough, Romance and Intelligence. Obviously there are those who lean highly to one of the three. Steven Segal is all brawn, rock, and physicality. He can fix your shed, but not much else. Romance taken to the extreme and you get the flowery poets. No one likes them. And all intellect is another cartoon – Steven Hawking?

When you mix it up a little it gets more interesting (for me). Romance and Intellect gets you into Niles from Frasier territory. It’s a character I love to pieces, but useless more than not. Romance and Tough, you get Rocky Balboa. Emotional, and can only bash at things to express his emotion. He would attack marble with a mallet. Intellect and Tough? You get Henry Rollins. I hope than man gets into politics. Personally, I need a bit of heart.

And it seems each has a detractor. The indie nerd eschews toughness. The Silent Types eschew emotion. The jock eschews intelligence.

So I go on about this for a very good reason. I feel like that kind of guy is lost. Or at least it’s been a while since I met one. Especially in greater culture. Where are the artful, emotional and strong role models? The man who understands the world, who can feel for the world, and can change the world?

We need another Billy Bragg. We need someone who can play and sing and spit with every muscle behind him, can write a sad song about girl he once loved, and use a line as intelligent and witty as ‘I put you on the pedestal, they put you on the pill.”

Where have all the Billy Braggs gone?