Happy birthday to me


Well I turned 43 today. I don’t really feel that age, but then again I sometimes feel older than that. Today was a good day. Work made a fuss and of me and gave me cards, two cakes(!) and other bits and bobs. At home my folks got me clothes, Diablo 3 on the Switch and a Statue of Harlequin that’s totally badass. It’s been really good.

Birthdays always feel weird to me. I’m not entirely comfortable being the centre of attention and although I enjoy the experience I’m often eager to get back to normal.

So thank you to all who wished me happy birthday and/or got me prezzies. I really appreciate it.

Craig.

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Stan Lee dies


So sad to hear that the legendary Stan Lee has passed away. The creator of many of our favourite super heroes, including Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk, he was the pioneer of many a kid’s childhood fantasies and well, we wouldn’t have the Marvel Cinematic Universe without his boundless imagination. He will be sadly missed.

R.I.P.

In praise of great TV


Sharp ObjectsI’ve just finished watching the HBO drama ‘Sharp Objects’, and can say with certainty it’s been one of the most riveting dramas I’ve seen in a long time.  With a cast lead by a particular favourite, Amy Adams, who like many Hollywood names these days dips her toe into television and works wonders.  Her acting here, as tabloid journalist Camille who has a complex history that comes flooding back when she is given the assignment to report on a series of murders in the small town where she grew up.  As the show progresses we’re introduced to her rebellious younger sister Emma, and her controlling mother Adora, whilst along the way Camille falls for the local detective heading the case.

The way this show explores not just the case of teenage girls turning up murdered but also that of Camille’s past is done intelligently and artfully to make for a real gem.  The ending holds plenty of twists and surprises and the main revelation is rather disturbing.  Performances are also decent across the board with Adams on solid form and powerfully written, with her actions not always for the belter.  However I’d tip my hat to Patricia Clarkson  as Camille’s mother,who had more than a hint of Piper Laurie about her  It kept me guessing right through to the final moments and left me pondering and a little shaken.  I won’t spoil anything though, just to say if you haven’t seen this series yet … go check it out.

A weekend to remember


I wouldn’t say I’m a massively outgoing person as far as venturing far and wide, but in recent years I’ve tried to broaden my horizons, at least when opportunities arise.  Two such opportunities arrived the weekend just gone, not entirely planned as such but I jumped at the chance to go and see my favourite band once again … and then another opportunity came around to see a personal favourite TV sketch show’s live tour.

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Probably over a year ago I booked tickets to see Garbage again in London as well as meet up with a friend I’d made last time I went.  Some months later VIP meet & Greets were announced, and so yeah, once again I was going to meet the band and get a photo taken.  The whole experience this time around was even better than I’d experienced in 2016 at The Troxy.  For starters at Brixton Academy, the meet & greet q&a part of the VIP experience was in the same room where the photos were to be taken and it was a small, intimate affair with me sitting amongst 50+ fans within touching distance of the band (!!).  It was so surreal as it wasn’t as if I was sitting before my favourite band, but almost like old friends … it all felt so nice and relaxed and really f’ing cool.  I didn’t say much, as I knew I’d clam up (again) but did get a chance to say how fantastic I thought they were and that Version 2.0 (of which the tour was celebrating it’s 20th anniversary) was my favourite album of all time, by any artist.  I got my photo taken which turned out to be more of a fun thing, with me posing with the band and all pretending to be zombies, with outstretched arms etc. lol.

The VIP experience also meant early entry so I was pretty much at the front (one short girl in front of me, so I had an awesome view) and what was the actual concert like?  In short Garbage (Shirley Manson, Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker) were on electrifying form, belting out the hits as well as more obscure b-sides both word-perfect and with an energetic response from a sold-out Brixton Academy crowd.  It was intense, heart-pounding, utterly feel good and the best I’ve seen them perform.  Garbage are such a skilled and talented band and once again delivered an evening of rockin’ good entertainment that didn’t disappoint.

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Two night’s later I was heading off to Liverpool to see The League of Gentlemen at the Echo Arena and this British sketch comedy four-piece that started out on radio before creating a cult TV show of the same name were utterly brilliant.  They went through a plethora of their most famous sketches and iconic characters to deliver a 2hr+ show of bonkers humour, one-liners, political satire and toilet humour with no end of imagination and charisma.  Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton, Mark Gattis and (behind the scenes / co-writer) Jeremy Dyson are one of the best comedy groups Britain has spawned since Monty Python and that … is not said lightly.  Translating the sketch-based comedy of the show worked well on stage and the sets and costumes were all very well done and seemed to go off without a hitch, aided by what appeared to be some funny ad-libbing and natural glimpses of the guy’s personalities.  This show was partly a celebration of their 20th anniversary as well as a hinted at farewell to the characters unless this talented four-piece find a way to work together again at some stage … we’ll see.  For now though, me and a couple of friends as well as the sold out crowd had a ball.

As far as my usual weekends go, this was pretty intense, rather exhausting but utterly fulfilling, creating memories I’ll look back on for years to come.  So a big shout-out to Garbage and to The League of Gentlemen for making the past few days so very special.

Craig.

Burt Reynolds dies


Sad news.

A movie industry legend and a genuine hero of mine in the 80s with the Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run movies has died today. Burt Reynolds was set to star in Tarantino’s latest Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, due out next summer.

1936 – 2018

R.I.P. a true star.