Friday, 20 February 2015

50 shades of sexploitation

The C.A.C.T.U.S club hit a new low this week, getting drawn into the media frenzy that is 50 Shades of Grey… My expectations of the film were low, which helped because it certainly lived down to them**. I only managed to stay awake because I was worried that I might miss something exciting… I wouldn’t have.

** I came close to giving this week’s Blog the title “Fifty shades of beige” but realising that the mere mention of s.e.x sells any old rubbish I took the commercial decision and have sold the very soul of The BlackLOG – don’t worry normal service will be resumed shortly and The BlackLOG will return to its normal beige consistency. After all there is only so much excitement one can take.

The 99.9% female audience turned the atmosphere into a kindergarten, with a loud squeaky buzz of excitement filling the auditorium before the film started. I have to admit that some of the film was funny, although not always intentionally so, because the film script is as badly written as the book it is based upon (Oh damn, further shame. It looks like I’ve accidently admitted to having read the first book of the series). Sadly, the unintentional humour only serves to disguise the main problem with the story. It is basically a tale about grooming because of all the gifts Christian gives to Anastasia: an Apple Mac, a brand new car (albeit complete rubbish compared to the cars that Mr Grey swans around in). Then there is Mr Grey's jealousy over any men in Anastasia’s life and going loopy because she had not told him she was visiting her mum. If this had been set in Rotherham it would have been headline news for sure.

The showing that the C.A.C.T.U.S club attended was almost full (Mrs B had a ticket but didn’t make it home from work in time – lucky thing).  The film was being shown in most of the other screens, which I’m guessing were full too – just for the promise of some mild titillation (As Madonna put it “Sex scenes written by someone who has no idea about sex”). The supposedly hard core counting scene is a good example – Sesame Street does counting much more entertainingly with The Count. Anyone else seen the film? What is your view?

It is really sad that the previous week’s C.A.C.T.U.S outing  to see Selma (The Martin Luther King film) a powerful story about securing equal voting rights – was being shown on only one screen and that was practically empty….If only MLK had thought to drop into the local Selma hardware store to pick up rope, cable ties, duct tape and then groomed his followers, Selma might have done much better at the Box office. I guess MLK had more important matters on his mind than cinema receipts 50 years later.

The week’s C.A.C.T.U.S attendees (10th Feb) The fifth film for 2015 – Selma

The week’s C.A.C.T.U.S attendees (17th Feb) The sixth film for 2015 – 50 Shades of Grey

C.A.C.T.U.S running totals
Niel (6)
Penny (4)
Marb (4)
Natalie (2)
Al (3)
Mrs B (2)
Mark (1)
Lisa (1)

Bit of excitement for me when BBCspringwatch liked one of my Instagram posts


Photo Finish
Pictures February 2014 – All taken with the Panasonic FZ150 (can’t remember why I didn’t use either of The Beasts) so a bit fuzzier than normal.

Anna Calvi at the Troxy

"Sing to me"

"One Breath"

"Love Won't Be Leaving"

"No more words"

"Morning Light"

Del Amitri – Hammersmith Apollo

"Be my downfall"

"Behind the fool"

"Nothing ever happens"

"Kiss this thing goodbye"

"Drunk in a band"

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac

We had the choice: £200 each for nosebleed seats at the top of some huge arena; or £30 for a great view at one of my favourite venues, The Union Chapel, Islington. The down side being that the £30 option was for Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, a tribute band, rather than the real thing…

Because we were with friends I didn’t manage to get my preferred seats, as we ate first. A nice little Italian restaurant close by but it suffered from being a little bit slow at serving the food. I suspect this was because it was all prepared and cooked fresh. It was a bit rich though after they had said we could only have the table for a specific period as it was reserved.

Being a tribute band we were wondering who they would have as support? The answer turned out to be no one.  I'm guessing not many support bands are big enough to have tribute bands so I'm not sure where a tribute band would go to get a support act... So it was straight in with Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, during the first few tracks I thought “What have we done?” They sounded a bit ropey. I guess it took them a little while to hit their stride and for the sound man to get the sound desk sorted. The thing with Union Chapel is if the sound guy gets it right you are in for a treat, when they get it wrong it can completely destroys a performance.

We were sandwiched between someone who obviously felt they were at a proper Fleetwood Mac concert and a group who were determined to turn the gig into a party. They did not make great neighbours - all chatter and giggles one side and tuts and frosty looks from the other.

Because we were not in our normal seats I decided to take the camera and get some pictures from some different angles. I ran into one of the security guards, who took one look at the Mega Beast with the 600mm lens and promptly asked me if I was with the band. “Yep” I said without missing a beat.

“Have you got a Photo pass?”

“It’s in my jacket” I said, without stopping taking pictures, as if I was on commission. All the while slinking further away from him. It worked and my assured replies got me through a potentially tricky situation.

That just leaves the small matter of telling a couple of porky pies in a church.....Hmmm just as well I don't believe in god otherwise I would be damned to hell for sure....If it turns out that I'm wrong I'll be OK because the god I don't believe in is a very forgiving god.....

C.A.C.T.U.S (Cheap As Chips TUeSday)
The section cataloguing the films shown at Bishop’s Stortford cinema which has a half price policy on a Tuesday.

The third film for 2015 Ex- Machina

An interesting take on Artificial Intelligence. I found the film a bit slow to start off with. Managing to drop off at one point, I woke up to see Mrs B pushing up some zzz’s. It got better and I’m assured by Penny the slow bits were all about setting the scene.

The week’s C.A.C.T.U.S attendees (27th Jan)
Mrs B

The fourth film for 2015 – Kingsman (the secret service)
Brilliant spy spoof – everything that the 1960’s Bond spoof – Casino Royal should have been but failed to be.

The week’s C.A.C.T.U.S attendees (3rd Feb)
Mrs B

C.A.C.T.U.S Running Totals
Niel (4)
Penny (4)
Marb (3)
Natalie (2)
Al (2)
Mrs B (2)

Photo Finish
Rumours of Fleetwood Mac

Louise Rogan as fake Stevie Nicks
"Seven Wonders" 

Amanda Kostadinov as fake Christine McVie
Although she looks a bit like one of my old Dinner ladies

"Smile At You"

Alan Hughes  as fake Lindsay Buckingham
shadowed by James Harrison as fake John McVie....

"Everybody Finds out"

But probably not until the encore, if they are drunk enough.... 
"Would You like chips with that?"*
You have to remember my School days were a long time before
Jamie Oliver's Healthy eating revolution ...
* No that was not a Fleetwood Mac song, it just went with the dinner lady theme  ..

"Behind The Mask"
Well more of a wig really...