The Timewarp Times

The past is coming back – really. It’s the Eighties again: not to be outdone on the list front The Sun lists predictions for top toys this Christmas.

Timewarp one – every year we hear the same things: there’s a lot of serious stuff in the news right now – still, The Guardian’s put together a list of Conservative leader Michael Howard’s favourite words in order of the frequency with which he used them in today’s speech: Howard’s buzzwords.

Timewarp two – like it’s the Eighties again: not to be outdone on the list front The Sun lists predictions for top toys this Christmas and they report that Cabbage Patch Kids are making a comeback – and are expected to be among the best-selling children’s toys this Christmas. Oh and they have a list too

And if that’s not bad enough, timwarp three – space hoppers are back: 20 space hopper riders are to hop up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh this weekend according to The Scotsman.

Where is Ashley Paske?

He used to be in Neighbours and Richmond Hill. Where are you now, Ashley?

Ashley Paske Autographed PhotoI always thought Ashley Paske was quite cute when he was in the daytime soap Richmond Hill and, later, in Neighbours. But now where is he? The only reference I can find to him recently is in an ABC (Australia) documentary called The Fame Game that tellingly says that the stars, “reveal how they coped with the all encompassing fame followed by a sudden and unexpected return to virtual oblivion.”

And yes, that is his autographed photograph in the picture. It was a gift.

2003 In Summary

Like Jerry, my final thoughts on Listen To Musak in 2003.

If I can be allowed to be more self-centred – or inward looking – than usual, I have found the process of re-reading the year’s worth of entries to be very interesting. Not only have I surprised myself with some of the pieces that I have written but, when viewing them all together, it seems that the site is a lot more coherent than I imagined. There are some key groupings of themes which have emerged – it’s clear I have a fascination with transport – and there are considerably fewer trivial pieces.

Many of the words I have written are, of course, about my life and might be considered to be trivial to some but I feel I have gained an insight into myself with some of the longer pieces. And it is those longer pieces which have most startled me on the re-reading: I must make a conscious effort to write more discussion works. Perhaps I should open the comments on the main body of the site to stimulate further thinking.

Of all the other sites I have read across the year, I still come back to my old faithfuls. So, this is the point where I should wish Tom, Jase, Jason, Bart, Meg, Phil, Eric, Chris, Bravo, Nick and Luke a very Happy New Year. Oh, and those are just the top listed ones in my bloglines subscriptions.

Bloglines is to be nominated my tool of the year for 2003, it’s made the whole business of reading other sites so much easier (if only Blogger users would provide nice RSS feeds). Of course I shoudn’t forget Six Apart who, via Movable Type, make all this possible.

Writing Listen to Musak is one of the few creative outlets I really have and I am happy to have it as a hobby – it seems more useful than making a model of St Paul’s Cathedral from matchsticks.

Best wishes for 2004 to all who come across this page.

Love Actually

This is really an inoffensive, somewhat amusing, light-hearted, feel-good British comedy.

Love Actually
Love Actually is not the film I imagined it to be. I guess you can call it a romantic comedy and it seemed like a sensible film to watch on New Year’s Day. The cinema was packed which suggests we wen’t the only ones with that idea.
I should say from the beginning, it’s sentimental and feel-good. If those words put you off then you shouldn’t really see this film. I do think, however, that if you have ever (even once) got a little lovey-dovey then could go and see this movie and get something out of it.

It’s weaves a whole stack of separate stories together about people in love or finding love (and even out of love) with the backdrop of Christmas in London. Richard Curtis (of Four Weddings And A Funeral fame) makes his directorial debut and provides a very well-shot image of 21st Century London at Christmas. There are some really well-done sequences around the city which gives somebody like me – who thinks he’s seen all he wants to of London – something to smile at.

Having said it’s well-shot it is not without problems. Too many stories are intertwined leaving too many questions unanswered. When you leave a cinema questioning some of your understanding about who was who and where things were set you know that at some point this film failed. Why have the whole Wisconsin sequence, for example? And what happened to the Laura Linney parts – I suspect there is something on a cutting room floor that explains all that somewhere.

But don’t let that put you off. Liam Neeson’s storyline is great (even if it stretched believability a little), Emma Thompson is superb (and you will feel for her as she opens a Christmas present) as Alan Rickman‘s wife (he too stands out with a great, typical Rickman performance). Even Hugh Grant is believable as a Prime Minister who falls for his tea lady (Martine McCutcheon).

What I liked, although I have no idea if they will translate to the US, are the really British touches. Ant and Dec are the kid’s TV presenters; Jo Wiley is a DJ and Wes Butters does the chart run down for the Christmas Number One. And there wasn’t an over abundance of red London busses – which must be a first for British films.

This is really an inoffensive, somewhat amusing, light-hearted, feel-good British comedy and I hope it does well. If you read the message boards over at the Internet Movie Database you’ll read about people walking out in shock and disgust – which, if you’ve seen the film, is just as amusing.