Homer Numan

Homer Numan

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Daisies

OK so my life's so sad that my next blog post is the same subject as the last one.

Well actually I did do quite a detailed Aspergers post, but I decided it was too personal for public consumption, so it's available by request only. That's got you intrigued eh?

Anyway, the second episode of 'Pushing Daisies' has confirmed what I suspected -- this series is exactly on my wavelength. Which may be worrying. But what the hell, somebody's got to like it.

At last a programme that's imaginative, quirky, romantic, fun and clever. Not to mention slightly challenging as far as keeping up with the plot is concerned.
There's no major violence, no swearing, no extreme nastiness and no gratuitous sex. Well none at all actually for obvious reasons.

I'd never had any time at all for Anna Friel before (I'm ashamed to say I never returned any of her calls), but now she's just the ticket.

Really great so far. I'll keep you updated.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pushing Daisies

Yet again it's left up to the Yanks to provide some decent entertainment. Even if they have nicked one of our actresses (sorry I know that everyone is an acTOR these days -- well exceuuuussseeeee me) to do it.

Anna Friel was previously best known for doing a lesbian kiss in ex-soap Brookside and a yawn-fest film called 'The Land Girls.' And some adverts for something girlie.

So far so crap. But in 'Pushing Daisies', she's really rather good. In much the same way that the ex-Eastenders 'Bionic Woman' girl isn't.

Anyway, the bloke who stars has the gift of bringing things back to life just by touching them. Which is great. But if he touches them a second time they die. Permanently. Which isn't. Especially if you're his mum.

Undeterred, he makes a tidy living by temporarily reviving murder victims for a pop quiz and then claiming the reward for finding their killers. Sneaky eh.

But having promised himself he wouldn't keep anyone permanently resurrected (the nearest person dies if he does) he is suddenly faced with his childhood sweetheart in a coffin (the delightful Miss Friel). It's not a tough choice to let the obnoxious undertaker meet his maker instead and keep his ex alive for future adventures with his business partner and gorgeous undead dog.

After just one episode I'm intrigued. The style is quirky adult fairy tale with a narrator. The leads are appealing and the plot frisky. Could go far.

But if you're brain dead, you may prefer Celebrity Mr & Mrs.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cotton Wool Kids

There was a quirky little programme on Channel 4 last night, called 'Cotton Wool Kids.'

It concerned the often obsessive behaviour of modern-day parents, some of who go to farcical lengths to protect their kids from their idea of danger.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, the voiceovers were kept to a minimum and the programme was largely narrated by the parents and their worried offspring.

We were treated to a little girl of about 6, who took us on a tour of her tiny back garden, pointing out all the hidden 'dangers', which included such deadly threats as a thistle and a slippery patch of grass.

Another girl told us how she was scared of rapists and yet another who was told to grow her nails long to scratch any would-be abductors.

Other terrifying dangers included teenagers, strangers, gang members and dogs.
One mother drove her kids into town, pointing out lone men and even lone women as potential kidnappers. The spectre of Madeline McCann was invoked constantly.

It was all a very far cry from the 'good old days' when kids could play in the woods or on the streets all day unmolested. Apparently.

The truth of course is rather different. Certainly roads are busier these days, and crime generally has risen, but abductions by strangers remain incredibly rare and gang attacks tend to be by definition amongst gangs.

Then I thought about how close this all was to home. Is it better to push your children out into the street amongst the other kids, let him/her take the knocks, the bitchiness and the rough and tumble, or is it better to keep them in with their Wii, DS and Playstation? Is it better to avoid the petty rows with other parents or chalk it all up to the rich experience of family life? And when is the best time to 'let go'?

I don't have the answers and somehow I doubt anyone else does either.


Have you ever got totally addicted to one track?

In my dim and distant past there's been XTC's 'Making Plans For Nigel', Tears For Fears 'Shout' and Gary Numan/Dramatis' 'Love Needs No Disguise' amongst others.

Now let me introduce you to 'Message' by an obscure band called Syntax.

Haunting, melancholy and strangely beautiful, there's something mysteriously indefinable about this track.

The video was probably made for about 50p, but I can particularly empathise with the last thirty seconds or so, where the guy is constantly fending off 'people', known or unknown.

I guess we all feel like that sometimes. Or is it just me?

Syntax ''Message''

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Nightwish Belfast

Tonight marked Nightwish first concert date anywhere in Ireland, one of two local dates on their 40 date 'Dark Passion Play' tour.

The venue was Belfast's Mandela Hall, part of the Queen's University complex -- an intimate but still sizeable setting.

Things began rather unusually when we simply strolled in off the street without being asked for a ticket! So far so casual.

The support band were Pain, a compotent, indeed impressive bunch, who worked the crowd well. Unfortunately there was then a delay of almost an hour before the main act came on. Was it worth the wait?

Bouncing on stage to thunderous applause, the band kicked off with 'Bye Bye Beautiful', a two-fingered salute to their recently departed singer Tarja.

The band's sound was tight and highly compotent, with impressive acoustics from the small venue. But the question on everyone's lips was 'how does new vocalist Annette measure up?'

On the basis of tonight, Tarja can go get a day job. Annette may not possess the operatic pipes of her predecessor, but she more than makes up for it with her gutsy performances and boundless enthusiasm. She was an absolute joy to watch, throwing everything into every track, working the crowd, smiling incessantly and even bantering in surprisingly good English between songs.

Tuomas gave a polished and often intense keyboard performance, while Marco frequently stole the show with his anecdotes (some inaudible) and vodka drinking!

Compared to a lot of bands I've seen, Nightwish really knew how to work the crowd -- sprinting round the stage, joking, throwing plectrums and above all, really getting into it! This was top notch entertainment.

Most of the new album was performed, including the ambitious opener; 'The Poet And The Pendulum', (for some reason shoe-horned into the middle of the set) and three of the four singles (Eva was notably absent).
The biggest roars were reserved for the 'Once' tracks, particularly 'Dark Chest Of Wonders', 'Nemo' and the closing 'Wish I Had An Angel', every one superb.

Encores were the surprisingly intense; 'Seven Days To The Wolves', the classic 'Wishmaster' and the previously mentioned 'Angel'.

This was debatably my first metal concert, and a great experience it was, complete with head banging, crowd surfing and a couple of manic Chinese blokes pogoing on our toes! I'd definitely go back for another helping! An excellent night.

For anyone wondering if Nightwish can survive without Tarja, worry no more. On the basis of tonight's performance, they have a long, long career ahead of them.