Saturday, 20 June 2009


Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow
1x03 Birmingham
Including a brilliant bit on the stupidity of political correctness. And another excellent bit too, but I can't remember it at all now.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]


The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
[#37 in 100 Films in a Year 2009]
Really enjoyed this. I do like film noir and have seen a few, but I really ought to make a great effort to see more.


Live in Ukraine by Queen + Paul Rodgers

Despite touring as Queen + Paul Rodgers for a number of years now, this is the first time I've bothered to listen to them doing primarily classic Queen material. This particular gig is notable as much for its technical achievement and huge audience (both live and on TV) as it is for the material being performed: "Over 350,000 Ukrainians came to see them play and more than 10 million homes watched the show live on television. In all, more than 20 million took part."

Rodgers unsurprisingly makes for a very different sound to former frontman Freddie Mercury, wisely choosing to do the classic material in his own way rather than imitate the inimitable. This means some tracks sound like semi-covers -- drastically different vocals over familiar musical arrangements, with Brian May's equally inimitable guitar shining through as ever. Again unsurprisingly, Rodgers' versions aren't as good as Mercury's -- these songs were made for Freddie's distinctive voice, and its telling some songs have been deliberately avoided because Rodgers simply can't do them.

Rodgers is more than competent and I don't mean to criticise him too strongly, but its undeniable that where Freddie was irreplaceably unique, Rodgers is simply very good. On his own material and the new Queen + Paul Rodgers songs he fares better through the lack of comparison, while some of the classic material do make for reasonable (though, yes, still inferior) alternatives. The standout track is a heartfelt and moving rendition of AIDS anthem Say It's Not True. (As well as the 28 tracks available on the CD and DVD, two come only as online exclusives: A Kind of Magic from Amazon MP3 and Radio Ga Ga from iTunes.)

I hear the Queen + Paul Rodgers act has now ceased, an amicable split because it was only every meant to be temporary arrangement. Hopefully this means May and Roger Taylor will continue to find new frontmen and go on touring and producing new albums, because there's certainly life in this old Queen yet.


From Our Own Correspondent: Iran police clash with protesters - Analysis by John Simpson
(from BBC News)
"After a week of unprecedented mass protests in Iran over the presidential election results, the BBC's John Simpson reflects on the parallels between the 1979 revolution and current events."
A very informative and interesting perspective on the current events in Iran.

On a completely different note...

Review of Spinal Tap, Back from the Dead by Andy Gill
(from The Independent)
I find it impossible to tell if Gill gets the joke (and doesn't care for it), or has just missed it entirely.