It’s true that you can’t judge a book by its cover. In the case of Harpo’s Horrible Secret, you might jump to the conclusion that something untoward was happening, but Harpo’s horrible secret is really that his pap-pap has Alzheimer’s disease, not a pocket full of Viagra.
Before he struck mass market appeal as Sherlock Holmes, Benedict Cumberbatch proved his exceptional talents as Stephen Hawking in this classy BBC film from 2004. Written by Peter Moffatt, and directed by Philip Martin, Hawking tells the story of the scientist’s early years at university, examining his relationships, his work and the onset of the motor neurone disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Cumberbatch is wonderfully supported by John Sessions, Lisa Dillon and Peter Firth as a grumpy Sir Fred Hoyle, the renowned scientist and author of the classic sci-fi work The Black Cloud.
This is annoying: The BBC have decided to cancel one of its very best comedy series, Graham Duff’s brilliant Ideal starring the great Johnny Vegas as Mancunian pot dealer “Moz.” I’m a huge, huge fan of Vegas and Ideal, it’s one of the most-sharply written and acted comedies of the past decade. It’s got everything: Dope. Sex. Severed limbs… It’s also a rock snob’s delight with a terrifically curated soundtrack. Duff has actually used Throbbing Gristle’s music in the show and has even name-checked Carter-Tutti (aka Chris & Cosey) in a dog whistle meant for only a certain percentage of the viewing audience (I love stuff like that).
One of my favorite British TV comedy series — and I’ll be blogging about several during my tenure here at Boing Boing — is a show about a Mancunian pot dealer called Ideal (geddit?). It’s consistently well-written, extremely well-acted and provides comic genius Johnny Vegas with a role worthy of his almost Shakespearean-level verbal talents.
Vegas, the funniest fat man since John Candy, is “Moz” a small-time weed merchant who may or may not be agoraphobic. But Ideal, which has so far aired for four seasons on BBC3 and is scheduled for a fifth beginning in early 2009, isn’t a comedy about drugs per se, it’s more about the dramatic device of Moz’s bohemian line of work bringing whimsical (and psychotic) characters in and out of his flat all day long. “Ideal” is truly one of the best things on television anywhere in the world right now and thanks to the wonders of technology, should you decide it’s something you would want to watch, there is surely a way for you to see it, too. Just get your hands on it, trust me, you’ll love it!
I have seen every episode and own the DVDs. My lovely wife Tara, who also has great taste in TV, forwarded this most depwessing and distwessing news from Graham Duff’s Facebook page. I’ve counted her saying “It really sucks that they cancelled Ideal!” about eight times in the past hour:
As some of you may have heard, the BBC have decided against commissioning an 8th series of Ideal. The reason given was that the new channel controller wanted to make a clean sweep.
It is a source of both pride and frustration that, at the point of cancellation, Ideal was attracting its biggest ever audiences, its highest profile guest stars and its best ever reviews. And the show is now being screened in more countries than ever before - from America to Finland and beyond.
I just want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has appeared in the show and worked behind the scenes over the last 7 years and 53 episodes. And a very special thanks to everyone who has supported the show and spread the word. We really wouldn’t have got this far without you.
It’s been a truly wonderful journey and to work with such a genuinely amazing team has been both an honour and a solid hoot.
Not only is this sad, it’s stupid! What TV channel controller worth their salary makes the decision to yank a show that’s been on for seven years and has a growing international audience??? (Not a declining audience, an audience that is getting bigger worldwide every year—what gives?). How do you justify wanting a “clean sweep” over creating profits from a proven hit in a corporate environment, anyways?
WHO IS THIS PERSON WHO CANCELLED IDEAL?
And why do they still have a job?
Someone needs to organize a protest! Maybe mail this moron rolling papers care of the Beeb?
This sucks! It’s a travesty, I tell you! Let Graham Duff know how much you love Ideal at his Facebook page.
These photographs were taken in Shanxi Province in the Northwest of China. They document the ancient customs, which originate from pagan religious beliefs. Today a number of these customs have survived as one of the most important cultural practices in the Lunar New Year. People dress in stunning costumes, paint their faces, and stage themselves as mythical creatures. I suppose, by contrast to their daily peasant lifestyle, on this special occasion everyone must have felt quite extraordinary, especially since they were representing powerful ancient deities. When I first saw them line up and walk around in the village, I kept on wondering: did I step into wonderland?
Zhang Xiao captures his images with a Holga camera, known for its “low-fi” aesthetic.
For those of our readers lucky enough to live here in Los Angles (try to get that earlier post out of your mind, if possible) tonight at the Hammer Museum as part of their Flux series, Dangeorus Minds pal Syd Garon will debut his new film, co-directed with Sam Spiegal: N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo..
I’ve been working on a documentary about the band N.A.S.A. and the making of their first record for a few years now. We took behind the scenes footage from recording sessions and mixed it in with animation on top of the picture as well as excerpts from the animated music videos. The animation was a collaboration between fine artists like Marcel Dzama, The Date Farmers, Sage Vaughn, Shepard Fairy and director/animators such as Logan, 3 Legged Leg, Florescent Hill as well as myself. The music is based around unusual collaborations, David Byrne and Chuck D., Tom Waits and Kool Keith, Method Man and E-40, Old Dirty Bastard and Karen O.
The show starts Tuesday Aug 2nd, 8 pm sharp at The Hammer Museum in L.A. The will be live custom screen printed t-shirts, food, drinks, N.A.S.A. will play a DJ set after the show, and a bunch of other stuff. The screening is free, open to the public and there is plenty of cheap parking. RSVP suggested.
An exclusive excerpt from the upcoming film N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo. Sam records Kool Keith in his studio while Tom Waits literally phones it in. The animation here is incredible.
Below, N.A.S.A. “Money” (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, & Z-Trip). Art by Shepard Fairey. Directors: Syd Garon & Paul Griswold
This year marks the bi-centenary of Franz Liszt‘s birth - that legendary composer, pianist and mad shagger.
It was Ken Russell who first saw the similarities between Liszt and the excesses of modern day rock stars. Liszt’s concerts were attended by hundreds of young women, who screamed their hearts out at the composer’s flowing locks, long, dextrous fingers and incredible virtuosity at the piano. He was mobbed by these fans, who tore at his clothes, and ripped souvenir handkerchiefs that had been cast into the crowd (just like Elvis would do over a century later) to shreds. Liszt’s concerts were said to raise the mood of an audience to “mystical ecstasy”, all of which led to the term “Lisztomania” to describe the public’s excessive adoration of the randy composer.
Lisztomania became the title of Russell’s “scandalous” and “outrageous” 1975 cartoon bio-pic, starring Roger Daltrey as Liszt, with Paul Nicholas as Wagner, Ringo Starr as the Pope, Fiona Lewis as Marie d’Agoult and Sarah Kestelman as Princess Carolyn. As Films and Filming noted in this pictorial preview it was to be Russell’s “most spectacular and controversial” film, and while it turned the critics off, it is a film that has grown in reputation and influence since its first release. While not Russell’s best work, it’s still sand-in-the-face to the majority of pap pumped out into today’s multiplexes.