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Messages - Jim Penn

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News and Current Affairs / Re: Mike Nichols, (1931-2014)
« on: November 22, 2014, 11:51:37 am »
Nichols the actor, as opposed to Nichols the director, did appear on the British stage in Wallace Shawn's The Designated Mourner in the 1990s together with Miranda Richardson and David de Keyser, with David Hare directing. It's a strange disorienting play but I liked it far more than the other judges on the Olivier Award panel who cheerfully rejected my attempts to get it on the shortlist. Even so I never quite understood why Mike Nichols took time out to appear in it in a rare return to acting. Perhaps as a favour to Wallace Shawn?

I wish I'd seen the stage version (I love the play, and I have seen a rehearsed reading with Shawn himself taking the main role - extraordinary), but there is at least an abridged film version done by BBC Films. Nichols is amazing in the film, so I can only imagine how extraordinary he must have been in the flesh. It's amazing how similar his performance style is to Shawn's own...

I know David de Keyser's daughter, and once at a party, I spent some time talking to David specifically about The Designated Mourner. The rehearsal process coincided with Nichols having to work on the editing of The Birdcage, so apparently Nichols paid for de Keyser, Richardson and director David Hare to relocate to New York for a few weeks so they could rehearse during the day and then he could go and work on The Birdcage in the evenings!!

The Coffee Bar / Re: The Twilight Zone
« on: November 20, 2014, 05:12:22 pm »
Okay, today is now officially weird....

At lunchtime, I was doing some research at work on Mike Nichols, and just after I finished, the news announced that he'd died.

And now, I'm listening to "Einstein on the Beach" while I'm looking through database listings for 1970s episodes of Top of the Pops - a reference to Frankie Valli in one of the streams of consciousness in Knee Play 2 occured EXACTLY as I happened to read the name Frankie Valli on one TOTP episode listing.

The Coffee Bar / Re: CAPTIONS!
« on: November 20, 2014, 01:20:18 pm »

Boris - the man who puts the Square in Times Square.

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Classical adaptations
« on: November 19, 2014, 05:22:29 pm »
also a version by the Japanese keyboard player Tomita, which I found appallingly bland and pointless.
The 10-year-old Oliver Sudden found it very exciting, though, and it could be said to have played an important role in his first 'classical' music experiences. Same goes for Tomita's Debussy.

I heard some of that Tomita stuff in my teens, Birmingham Central Library had a few of them. Didn't think they were particularly dreadful.

But for some reason, oh my god, that's woken a memory from 25 years ago I'd have rather left dormant - Deodato's "Also Sprach Zarathustra". Shudder...

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Classical adaptations
« on: November 18, 2014, 04:24:29 pm »
Most of these "classical" adaptations are pretty hideous though don't you think?

Quite! The only one I have any real time for is Emerson Lake & Palmer's preposterous take on the toccata from Ginastera's 1st piano concerto...

The Coffee Bar / Re: Symptoms and control of arthritis
« on: November 17, 2014, 05:26:36 pm »
Shame the spam was removed - I've had a right arthritic flare up brought on by the effort of trying to install my Stilhaus Kitchen.

News and Current Affairs / Re: Warren Clarke RIP
« on: November 14, 2014, 02:38:20 pm »
My immediate mental picture is of his Faustian Police Inspector in a C4 Yorkshire gothic thing about ritual abuse and corruption, 'Our Friends In The North' 

"Red Riding", I thnk, he's not in "Our Friends in the North".

I think my favourite film of his would be Lindsay Anderson's "O Lucky Man" (where he reunited with Malcolm Macdowell a couple of years after "A Clockwork Orange"). Really could do with seeing that again soon.

Television / Re: New Who
« on: November 09, 2014, 07:59:07 pm »
Just saw this bit of news featuring Mr Capaldi, coincidentally at the same time as finding a bit of grit in my eye, or something.

Television / Re: New Who
« on: November 09, 2014, 02:02:42 pm »


I do wish they hadn't killed off Osgood. I thought there was a fine recurring character they could bring back in future.

And this being Playground Moffett they probably will at some point  :laughter3:

Well, yes, I guess that's true! I'd have to watch it again to verify, but there's some talk on a couple of the forums this morning that the Moff has the get-out clause that no-one knows what happened to the Zygon Kate and Osgood at the end of last November's Day of the Doctor, so the Osgood killed on the plane could be a memory-wiped Zygon rather than the real one...

Television / Re: New Who
« on: November 09, 2014, 01:17:20 pm »
I could take or leave Amy, Mort, if I'm being honest (though I still rate Amy's Choice as my favourite episode since the 2005 revival, and I really grew to rate Rory, in the end!).

Missy - erm... I wasn't struck on her that much. I can't help but think that Moffat was more or less writing a female version of his take on Moriarty, and frankly Andrew Scott's performance as Moriarty was always the weak link in Sherlock, for my money. Preposterous, scenery-chewing nonsense, it was a caricature without any emotional authenticity. Michelle Gomez was similarly scenery-chewing (if rather less annoying with it), though in the sci-fi world of Who, that doesn't matter quite so much. At least I believed her, which is more than I've ever felt about Andrew Scott. I did love the Poppins bit, though.


I do wish they hadn't killed off Osgood. I thought there was a fine recurring character they could bring back in future.

Television / Re: New Who
« on: November 09, 2014, 11:58:07 am »
I thought last night's episode a huge disappointment (especially after Dark Water last week, which I thought rather splendid!), and I think the series as a whole has been rather underwhelming. But I have LOVED Capaldi from the get go.

Cinema / Re: Which films make you cry?
« on: November 08, 2014, 03:41:23 pm »
Some films provoke tears sometimes, but sometimes the same films don't. But probably the only one that I can think of that provokes me every time is (and this may seem surprising) South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut. After 75 minutes of hilarious comedy and some pretty vicious satire, the last 30 seconds or so gets me every time - it's one of the most moving endings I can think of, and the genuine warmth in such a broadly unsentimental and gleefully misanthropic film comes as a complete surprise.

That and the final scene of Cinema Paradiso (oh, and the scene a few minutes earlier when they... oh, hang on, that would be a spoiler, so I'll stop there).

The Coffee Bar / Re: Happy Birthday
« on: November 07, 2014, 01:37:00 pm »
Ah yes indeed, Happy Birthday to Herr Oscura. :)

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