Monday, 26 February 2007
Well done, Mr Scorsese! Some people think that The Departed is just a retread of Infernal Affairs. I say, at least it ain't Ulee's Gold or As Good As It Gets. Elsewhere, Helen Mirren hails the influence of The Queen on the making of erm, the Queen. Well Liz Windsor always reminded me of Hitchcock with hair, but I'll reserve judgment until she directs her first feature.
Thursday, 22 February 2007
Off to Hull's Lamp (ironically, given the amount of weed and MDMA chugging going on) a former police station, to see next week's latest big thing for at least a week The Twang. Having seen the Arctic Monkeys way back when at Silhouette you can sense a similar buzz around this Birmingham bunch of young scallywags. Style-makers and breakers the NME certainly think so, but perhaps I'm just a bit too grown up for all these new favourite band nights out. Me, I'd rather listen to Shuggie Otis and Tinariwen (nomadic frontier music from Mali, gerrin there!). But there is something about this lot. A brummie Jamie T meets the Streets meets Dexy's (the band AND the drug).They employ co-singers straight out the Happy Mondays school of day-glo rock dancing, although that Bez-down-the-youth-club approach started to flag due to the intense stuffiness of the venue; the Lamp clearly isn't built for dancing like a loon. But I had fun, even without the drugz.
Monday, 19 February 2007
Some pictures of our jaunt down to the Humber, left of St Andrew's Quay but before the ice arena. Lots of sad remnants of Hull's fishing past, and even a sign proudly proclaiming Box Department. We also saw a man cycling backwards and forwards along the, ahem, promenade, stopping the solitary few and regaling them with tales of the past. He was wearing a red hat saying: "I like Ews" and was frothing at the mouth ever so slightly. Think he may be the ghost of the Lordline.
Saturday, 17 February 2007
Sure Bazza will agree with me on this, but getting amongst it and seeing familiar sights from new perspectives is a really life-affirming thing.
Have decided to cycle across the Humber Bridge three days a week en route to my new job on the south bank, to save the world and bridge tolls. Did a trial run today, seeing familar sights from fresh perspectives, a beautiful Humber Bridge glistening through the downhill mist as I tried to apply brake pressure on the way down to the foreshore. And then, having surprised myself with my speed on the journey - I decided to take a detour on the way back along the Trans Penine Trail. Don't be fooled, orienteers. This is not a trail. It's an off-road, quad bike, gacky nitemare, negotiating the mud, debris, fog and attempting not to fall in the Humber for about four miles. The most terrifying part is cycling towards the A63 traffic with only a rubbish fence between. Covered in mud, I spotted a shaman-like figure with a rod and a fire fishing the Humber on the edge of St Andrew's Quay. I cycled towards him and found it was Carl from Bad Magic, wide-eyed after a night on yoof pills. He embraced the role of shaman and said: "the path which you seek is beyond Mr Chu's. There are many opportunites to veer off the path but keep going and you will find what you seek, ie, the footpath just beyond the ice arena. And so I continued, past the abandoned fish docks, flimsy lock bridges not made for us cycling kinds and a raised gantry where I could see the disullisionment of Hull's fishing past in the foreground and the cranes of progress beyond. Maybe Hull's battle is to see if it can ever reconcile the two. The photo from today's amazing journey will be published soon - in the meantime ... a flyer for our charity do. Click on it for the news story!!
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
At long last, details of our Help The Aged charity fundraiser emerge on This Is Ull! Come along and win yerself a meal for two at Marrakesh Avenue in true bedouin style! Or a four-star hotel stay on the outskirts of Hull! Went to see Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett go for it hammer and tongs in Notes On A Scandal, which is a very powerful, creepy and claustrophobic piece of filmmaking. Not quite sure if the compexities of the ladies kinship are particularly well explained, or if we really need to see Dame Jude in the bath going all Kathy Bates. Not Hot Fuzz, but deserving of the buzz.
Friday, 9 February 2007
After collecting Dee from swimming yesterday (she was very pleased after going underwater for the first time ... Donny Lido and ducking here we come) I pulled up outside my house to see an old man getting out of a taxi. "Alright?" I said. He turned on his heels and said: "No. Cost of living." I retorted with a "look on the bright side" at him and he responded with a load of bile in Welsh. Het turned the corner and was gone. Why did he not get the taxi to drop him off at his front door. Who was the mysterious pessimistic Welsh miserablist?
Thursday, 8 February 2007
I am so glad to be leaving the Mail (new title At The Heart Of All Things Local would be better with a (Stabbing at the) opening bracket).
Two weeks ago, the Advertsier "scooped" the big boys in our own building (who blatantly ignore us most of the time) about a couple who met and married through eBay. My headline was "Couple promise to love, honour and eBay" and we gave it a really good spread. The following day I expected praise, but was told I should have given the story to the Mail and that it was clearly too good for our team. The inference being that we should settle for mediocrity. Reach for the gutter. Today, one of the potential replacement for yours truly was ushered into the interview room, not past his new colleagues, but the long way round. Minutes later, my boss, who is doing the interview, comes over and asks for that particular front page. He "wants to show the candidate 'what we do'." Words sometimes fail me.
Monday, 5 February 2007
If I was to do a straw poll of people's Sundays, there'd probably not that many who would begin their day at 6am dealing with rabid car boot nutters and end it by watching rabid ice hockeyers getting all silly over a puck at Hull Arena. That was the fate that befell me and Dee yesterday. Having to raise a crazy amount of cash for Help The Aged (I rapidly am beginning to know how the aged feel), we decided to sell our tat at silly prices on the North Cave-Gilberdyke border. And it was some kind of gold-panners, frontier town, populated by hunchbacks, the teeth-missing, the lazily-eyed and those selling the spoils of a hastily-conducted burglary. We shivered and took it all in from behind the relative safety of our trellis table. Two points become clear when you become a seller; people are exceptionally rude and people have no regard for your Clash 45s. One woman walked past the stall and shouted "shit", gesturing at Dee's toys. Another of the damned started fingering my White Riot 7inch in a brutal manner, like a monkey with shit. One man struck up a conversation, saying: "I should have stayed in bed but its a great chance to meet all my friends." We made £50, which seemed a lot at the time, but divided by two and for six hours work is positively slave-tastic. We are shelling peas for extra cash next time, although the character observations were worth their weight in gold.
Laters, and to Hull Stingrays and their grudge-match with Nottingham Panthers. It was brutal and bloody on that ice; and a fight between a panther and a ray involved much comedy puck-throwing and head-locking. Later, we sat in direct earshot of the Stingray's biggest fan, who clutched her three-year-old daughter to her chest as she screamed: "I hope you get scurvy" and "Panthers? Parasites, more like" at the opposition. Hull lost 5-0, sports fans. Would we go again? Definitely, it's like Gladiators on ice!
Finally, got home, and watched the opening ceremony of Super Bowl XLI. Knackered, we fell asleep in front of the telly before Prince, reproduced for your pleasure below. Fancy a throw-by-blow account? Click here
Saturday, 3 February 2007
A very interesting talk on Creative Writing Saturday with Ray Allen, the man who wrote Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em and later wrote for, erm, Jimmy Cricket and stuck the oohs and aahs in Frankie Howerd's (steady on now) dialogue. Plenty of witty anecdotes from Mr Allen about working with Michael Crawford and once giving dictation to Mr Howerd from an Isle of Wight call box, where a queue of frustrated telephone wannausers heard half-an-hour of oohs, aahs and titter-me-nots. Mr Allen himself was great (minutae fans: he ate scampi and chips for lunch and looked a bit like Charles Laughton as he did so) but my growing band of nemesises on the second year (what's the plural of nemesis? Nemesi? Nemelux? No matter, I'm quickly acquiring them) seemed determined to shroud Ray from the evil eyes of us first years. They quite clearly were the superior group and so of course could dazzle Ray with their comedy chops. Which lead me to coin the word sitcommunism and pitch an idea for a sitcom in the former Soviet bloc. Ray preffered the Vicar of Dibley, sadly and glazed over when I started talking about Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Friday, 2 February 2007
News today that Ideal Standard, formerly suppliers of toilets from Hull to the rest of the civilized world, is up for sale. It says so, in 122 point type, in toady's "wouldn't wipe me bum with it" local rag. Cue no end of depressed comments on the HDMs website, here. In fact, its been a bad week for the city with the Beautiful South going down the pan as well and Hull City being flushed with something other than success in the derby with Leeds. But steady on a minute people, isn't this negative attitude the thing that got Hull here in the first place? Just look at the superb Hull Truck programme - let's stop thinking we're a load of toilet just cos we don't make them anymore.