Archive for August, 2004

Amin Emin

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I don’t like to scaremonger. It’s not responsible. Still, you can’t help but notice. Idi Amin and Tracey Emin. Never at the same parties, are they?

Amin Emin

Clang clang

Saturday, August 28, 2004

A top class clanger from Gary Richardson, the BBC’s ringside interviewer at the Olympic boxing semi-final won by Amir Khan, a 17-year-old boy from Bolton.
“Well done,” said Richardson, winding up the interview in his usual way. “Go and have a drink.”
It was an ill-advised comment on three levels:
a) Khan was brought up a devout Muslim;
b) he is underrage;
c) even if he wasn’t a 17-year-old teetotaller he would be unlikely to have a drink two days before the final, the biggest fight of his life.
What a berk.

Unhappy birthday

Friday, August 27, 2004

My friend J has a penchant bordering on evangelism for Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. It was, he says with some pride, number one in the UK chart on the day he was born. Good thinking, I thought. I wonder if my birth song has as much street cred.1977 was a patchy year, to say the least. David Soul had two number one hits, marking the beginning of his rapid and deserved slide into obscurity that ended when Starsky and Hutch did two years later. On August 27 we were all apparently listening to the dubious-sounding Float On by The Floaters, a group of musicians so obviously destined to be a one-hit wonder that the record label named the band after its song. And Kenny Rogers had a hit with Lucille, one of the few songs ever made that attempts to rhyme “Toledo” with “depot”.

But 1977 also featured Baccara’s Yes Sir I Can Boogie and Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, two songs that are indeed classics (if you take as your yardstick their popularity on albums containing “best” and “… ever” in their titles). Elvis and Hot Chocolate hit the top spot with a pair of funky numbers and Abba, for whom I have a grudging respect, scored with The Name of the Game and Knowing Me, Knowing You.

So, what was my birthday song?

Chanson d’Amour, by Manhattan Transfer, that’s what. It is the most nauseating tune I have ever heard. They looked like this:
Manhattan Transfer

And their lyrics, sung in close harmony, went like this:

“Chanson d’amour, ra da-da da-da, play encore/ Here in my heart, ra da-da da-da, more and more”

I have no music pedigree at all. Why couldn’t I have had The Floaters?
See comments for your own birth song (if you were born between 1976 and 1978)

Alien queen

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

There is some speculation, midway through the film Aliens, as to whether the alien species of the title organises itself in a similar hierarchy to ants, with a queen at the top. “Yeah man,” says Hudson, insightfully. “The queen alien is gonna be really big.” A lucky guess, as it turns out, but not the only possibilty. The alien queen could so easily have looked like this:

Alien Queen

(click to enlarge)

Fuzzy logic

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Perhaps, like me, you are concerned about what happens to television cop partnerships after their series come to an end. Do the policemen begin work with new buddies, and what happens if the by-the-book cops and mavericks end up paired together? Would Starsky and Makepeace constantly fail to apprehend criminals because of their unwillingness to deviate from procedure? Would Dempsey and Hutch bankrupt City Hall with endless lawsuits and ever-increasing car insurance premiums?

To calm your nerves, I have come up with a top 5 of spin-off series that would see our favourite cops happily into retirement.

Dempsey and MakepeaceDempsey and William Makepeace Thackeray
Jim Dempsey is the hard-edged gun-toting foil to Thackeray’s ultimate “by the book” cop. Although he is unsuited to street work, the 19th-century bobby’s arrest reports consistently top the bestseller charts.

Starkey and HutchZak Starkey and Hutch
Although constantly being yelled at by Captain Dobey for their scant knowledge of protocol, the pair are kept on the rails by Zak’s soothing rhythmical ability and anecdotes about growing up as the son of the second most interesting living Beatle and the time he appeared with Oasis at Glastonbury.

Cagney and LaceyCagney and Robert Lacey
When Mary Beth Lacey was reassigned to work with James Cagney, Chris Cagney teamed up with Robert Lacey, the royal biographer. Their oddball partnership inspired television executives to consider a return to the Cagney and Lacey formula, although the pilot, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang You’re Dead (Murder at the 21-Gun Salute), was not a success.

Bodie and DoyleBodie and Arthur Conan Doyle in The Professionals
A promising pairing that turned into a disaster as Doyle leapt to simplistic conclusions using his fallacious dictum: “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Suspects confessed after being roughed up by Bodie, but were acquitted on appeal when judges ruled that Doyle’s reasoning was flawed on a metaphysical level because it assumed that the observer was omniscient.

Reagan and CarterRonald Reagan and Carter in The Sweeney
Carter doubts that the new boy has the stomach for the brutal style of interrogation he perfected with his former partner, Jack Regan. Indeed, during their first arrest Reagan fails to say “Shut iiiit” once. However, the couple soon bond as Reagan demonstrates his capacity for ethically-dubious arms deals and stern rhetoric backed up with nuclear force.