One of the only things I brought back from Prague was a bottle of one of my favourite tipples from duty free in Ruzyne airport. I really love absinthe but rarely drink any since few places offer it. Having heard talk of using sugar cubes and naked flames in the preperation of the drink I thought I’d look into it in more depth before I had a go at mixing my own…
As this is apparently the first rule of mass media broadcasting, who am I to argue? Not that I broadcast to anything like masses but anyway. Requests have been made to begin a series of “…silly yet fun debate[s] each week to keep [you] all entertained…” in the fashion of the great Coffee Vs. Tea debate of April. Even I have to appreciate that it gained the most comments of anything so far despite the post consisting of no more than 26 words. So here goes; this week (as promised/threatened) will be a fight to the finish between cats in the blue corner and dogs in the red.
I actually like both. We had a cat called Kippy up until I was five and we moved to Welland. Kippy was Dad’s Mother’s cat and she was passed to Dad when her owner passed on. My parents hate cats with a passion; there exist no pictures of Kippy anywhere and they used the move as an opportunity to get shot of old Kippy. Last year The Parental Units asked me to get hold of a Super Soaker-style water canon to blast away any cheeky moggies that venture into the garden as Mum is fed up with nasty surprises when she is gardening and all the hapless birds and mice that are slaughtered every year in the name of feline ammusement. I know that Rob, Lemur Girl and Liam will have strong feelings on this subject as all of whom are firmly rooted in Camp Cat having been brought up in Felis catus loving environments for as long as I (or they, probably) can remember. I also love dogs having co-existed very happily with Topsy and Meg for most of my life (they were fab in every sense). But enough of my Swiss-style fence-sitting, over to you; empirically, which is the superior species as a companion for us human types? I expect you to fight like cats and dogs! What’s the matter, cat got your tongue…?
I can honestly say that this is one fantastic city. I’ve starting posting pictures on the Flickr account but will have to wait a few weeks before I can post more because I’ve reached and beached my limit for the month. We were only there for five days but we managed to cover a lot of the place on foot which is an ideal way to take in the Czech capital. We had a broad agenda; day one Old Town; day two the castle; day three New Town; day four chill out and day five was for running around doing anything we may have missed before our plane home.
Rae had suggested that she wanted to see “The Squid And The Whale” but since I had heard that it was a study of a disintegrating family after a bitter divorce I wasn’t keen and it was only after she said that she’d heard it was actually quite amusing that I agreed. I normally don’t touch reviews as I like to keep an open mind but when I’m undecided about seeing something I do look for a general consensus. The Guardian movie section does have a great comparative chart so you can see how a movie favours across the board. This one seemed to have found praise everywhere and the cast looked good – the added attraction of lovely Anna Paquin playing an almost identical role to her sassy student in Spike Lee’s superb 25th Hour was difficult to ignore.
The film was actually fantastic. Set in 1986 it was director, Noah Baumbach’s memories of his own parents’ split and how it affected him and his brother. Jeff Daniels took the main role after Bill Murray became unavailable and, not that Murray isn’t consistently watchable, I’m quite glad as Daniels was excellent. Jeff Daniels is actor persistently undervalued, most memorable for tripe like “Dumb and Dumber” (where Jim Carrey made sure he dominated the screen anyway) and small roles in things like Speed and Pleasantville. His minor role in The Hours went largely unnoticed. Here Daniels plays overbearing Bernard, a (very) bearded English literature teacher who had found semi literary fame some time ago but having failed to get anything published since has become chronically resentful and insecure when his wife (the ever excellent Laura Linney) finds success with her own work. This indirectly leads to the divorce. Brooklyn in the 80’s is well realised and there are myriad precious moments as the two boys try to come to terms with their parents’ living apart and being used to score points against a parent by the other, not to mention their own growing pains. It is in turns painful and hilarious. Younger brother Frank (no older than ten) takes to heavy drinking and masturbating in school to a disembodied magazine picture of female genitalia (taking care to wipe his semen over library books and locker doors) while older brother Walt tries to emulate his father’s literary pontificating while chatting up girls, claiming that Kafka’s writing is Kafkaesque. What’s also interesting is how Walt sides with his father but Frank has more of a simpatico relationship with his mother and how this affects the dynamic when the joint custody entails time spent at respective parents’ houses. Throw in the complications caused when young Lili (Paquin) moves in with Bernard and William Baldwin as Frank’s “right on” tennis coach and it makes for a very entertaining 80 mins. I realised afterwards that Noah Baumbach had co-written “The Life Aquatic” with Wes Anderson (who co produced this) which largely explains why it was so good. Well worth your time if you get the chance to see it.
I’m quite excited. My favourite Doctor Who villains, The Cybermen, return tonight. I think they’re particularly cool and one of the most memorable images of the show from my childhood. I had a quick look on t’internet and found out that the story I remember was called “Silver Nemesis” and featured Sylvester McCoy running round trying to stop these guys getting hold of bits of a statue that would help them to become all powerful or something. I also seem to remember that one of the only ways they could be destroyed was using a crossbow (or did I make that up?). I’d be able to re-watch the episode and see for myself if it were available on DVD but sadly it aint. I’m not sure about the new design for them though. According to this week’s Radio Times the art department thought it would be a good idea to go Art Deco with the design and whilst this looks very cool and reminds me of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, I actually really liked the look they employed back at the end of the eighties – I think it made the cyborgs appear more humanoid; as if they had only undergone a few evolutionary steps from being a living, thinking person and that the technology was more crude which somehow for me made it all the more scary (I think it reminded must have reminded me of that traumatizing moment in Superman 3 when evil Vera Webster was sucked into the super computer near the end). There’s a then and now below for you to make your own mind up – unles you’ve been assimilated and have it made up for you.