5 Great Things About Community’s October 19th Video

Community was supposed to return last night, but it didn’t because (as I’ve said, more than once) NBC suck balls. The cast and makers of the show (with one notable exception) last night all tweeted a link to a YouTube video in which we got a glimpse of what Season 4 will be like. The video currently has 416, 686 views, I saw it when it had 314 because I’m a better fan than you are.

The video is here.

Here is 5 things that’s great about it.

  1. Chang’s darkest timeline beard – Community not premièring last night pretty much makes this the darkest timeline. But it’s also nice to see that Chang is still miles behind the rest of the group, desperately trying to fit in, but his madness and, well, Chang-ness stops him. He’s also the only one outside the study room, peering in. That’s probably too much Chang-alysis for now.
  2. “The minds behind this shift know exactly what they’re doing” – They don’t, and everyone knows this. But it gives the impression that Season 4 might toe the line a little more, even if it is in a backhanded way. Most of Season 3 was very aggressively backhanded. John Goodman’s evil administrator was a manipulative bully, the suits on the school board were ineffective “bros” who were more interested in going to dinner, Harmon’s message was clear, Sony and NBC suck. It’s easy to say that if you’re say 30 Rock, when NBC is being repped by Alec Baldwin, is practically the main character and has a large following. More difficult for Community, who already have a frayed relationship. Season 4 might just be a little less aggressive, and who knows NBC might suck less.
  3. Dean Pelton’s arrival – This is kind of the same point as above, the Dean is another failed administrator, but he’s lovable, well meaning and also just wants to be part of the gang. Notice he’s also outside the study room with Chang.
  4. Annie’s boobs getting his own show – This actually happened, Animal Practice, good job NBC. It was cancelled on October 18th
  5. Britta being wrong – Because she’s the worst. And because she was being sensible and reasonable.

And that was 5 things that were awesome about Community’s October 19th video.


Last Night’s Telly 20th October

The most important television event last night didn’t actually happen on telly. October 19th was supposed to be the start of the fourth season of Community. Except NBC suck balls, so the best American comedy of the past decade doesn’t have an airdate (or it’s creator/showrunner/genius but that’s a different matter entirely). What Community does have is a lot of dedicated fans on the internet (a community, if you will), and as a reward to these poll fixing mentalists, last night the cast all tweeted an link to video. There’s an entire blog entitled ‘5 great things about Community’s October 19th Video’ coming up but I’m doing this one first.

Anyway back to British telly, Hollyoaks (First look on E4, obviously) was pretty dull. There’s a new good looking Irish guy in town; the boring Jacqui, Tony, Cindy and Rhys story rumbled closer to the inevitable heartbreak of everyone finding out; Ned from Neighbours did some evil looks while bringing Lacey and the deaf guy together. Not even a decent comedy side story.

Channel 4 have been banging on about their telethon Stand Up To Cancer  all week, and finally it arrived in all it’s disappointing glory. The number of big names the trailer promised, and the actual number who showed up gave the show a look of, well I suppose Bilbo would say, “butter spread over too much bread.”

Cheryl opened the show, after Davina, Alan Carr and Dr Christian did their opening bit. Sound was a major issue in these first ten minutes, the mics above the audience were turned up too loud so their already over enthusiastic woo’s became distorted, like Sonic Youth sampling a hen night. Cheryl’s backing track didn’t get turned up until the final chorus. Let’s hope the people curing cancer are slightly more capable than the tv crew.

I swapped to Corrie after it was clear Stand Up To Cancer was terrible, but with some clever flicking I saw JLS’ hilarious prank on the easily confused but affable Olly Murs. And Derren Brown being fantastic/scary with Chris O’Dowd and Dawn Porter.

Coronation Street’s double bill was ok, Sue Johnston continues to be hilarious in her quest for Pub Of The Year, mistaking Rita’s fancy man as the mystery drinker and getting him drunk, while ignoring the real mystery drinker. The serious family drama came from Lister’s efforts to reunite his daughter with her mother and Audrey giving 10k to some woman Lewis (Richard? I can’t remember his name) conned years ago. David suspects it’s a scam, Nick looked like he should be pushing Meerkat toys to people in inappropriate circumstances. It was also Moroccan night in the cafe, and I saw Izzy in Selfridges yesterday.

Over on BBC4 it was Kinks night, which was pretty good. The documentary about David Davies and his massive inferiority complex to his brother was quite sad and the collection of Kinks videos from the BBC that followed it were a delight. Except for Apeman, that songs terrible.

And that was last night’s telly.

Live Review: Guilfest 2012

Guilfest is the UK’s premier family friendly festival. In catering for all ages the lineup tends to look a little varied, not fully committed to dad rock in the form of Bryan Ferry, Buzzcocks and Gary Numan and not buying completely into the a younger pop festival with performances from Olly Murs and Cher Lloyd. The third name in this list would have been Tulisa, however she was to ill to perform.

Friday leant a lot closer to the vintage camp, with minor ex members of The Beautiful South and Dire Straits performing their old hits as The South and The Straits respectively. These sets were good and Walk Of Life was great festival tune. Heaven 17 did a great electropop set, with closing it with classic Temptation

Jools Holland and his incredibly talented band put in a virutosic, groovy performance, but my enjoyment of this was cut short when I saw there was a seminal Manchester punk band playing a packed out sweaty tent. Buzzcocks were thoroughly impressive. ABC were smart, classy and incredible well polished working through their hits from the eighties.

Saturday was far more popular and current, and it’s only fitting that the crowd today was much younger. It is a shame that Tulisa was not well enough to perform at the festival, despite being caught by paparazzi partying for her Birthday in Ibiza. For the younger crowd she was arguably the biggest draw, and when the announcement was made five minutes before Tulisa was supposed to take to the stage, the audience was clearly gutted.

Luckily though, she was replaced with a second performance by Take Fat, the overweight tribute to Take That. Providing some serious light (or should that be heavy) entertainment. The boys, including Mark Growing and Gary Lardo, went through all the boy bands classics and the modern hits. Their show was absolutely hilarious, mid way through the set the band had to got hungry and asked for the crowd to throw food onto the stage. One of the lasting images of Guilfest will be Blobbie Williams eating a bag of skips while Howard McDonalds sang ‘Never Forget’.

More musical comedy came in the form of Tim Minchin, who drew a large crowd to the second the stage and was very funny and entertaining, especially when lightly mocking the ‘uncritical’ group of teenage girls gathered at the front who were cheering after every line he spoke. Despite being oddly sandwiched between Cher Lloyd and the errant Tulisa, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff played a very strong set on the Main Stage, his acapella version of Rivers Of Babylon being a highlight. Cher Lloyd performed admirably, as she was strutted around the stage with the endearing swagger and attitude we all remember and love from her time on X Factor.

The award for best act on Saturday however does have to go to Nouvelle Vague, who’s sexy, French, bossanova covers of New Wave songs were, if a little niche, fantastic. Fronted by, you guessed it, two sexy French brunettes, they reeled of a string of classics like ‘Blue Monday’ and ‘Guns Of Brixton’ before finishing on a fantastically haunting cover of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.

Headliner Olly Murs closed the Main Stage on Saturday night, which barring his well documented fall down the stairs, was a near flawless performance. Olly provided a lot of bouncy pop fun and his affable charisma carried the set. ‘Thinking Of Me’ was an early crowd pleaser and it was very brave of Murs to do not one but two covers of Madness (who are Guilfest regulars). Another brave choice of artist to tribute to was Stevie Wonder, the afformentioned fall took place during the medley of his songs. Olly was a very strong headliner, who delivered on the expectations of his hardcore fans and impressed those who might have otherwise written him off.

The sun actually came out on Sunday, which after two days of grey clouds, rain and lots of mud, was a welcome change. It was too late for those of us who were camping, but the sun lifted the festival’s mood was lifted considerably when it could have been a very dull and depressing Sunday morning. The local Rock Choir opened the stage with choral versions of Hard Rock classics like The Bee Gees ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ and Adele’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’. Following this was an appearance from touring show, Elvis and Friends who played just about every great song from the fifties that anyone can remember. Alvin Stardust changed the tone a little as he played a strong set of Glam Rock stompers.

Stooshe’s set was unique, but you have to wonder if they might have drawn a bigger crowd if they’d have been on stage on Saturday. Hit ‘Love Me’ went down well however, as did a cover of TLC’s ‘Waterfalls’, who are clearly a big influence on the band. Soul legend Candi Staton entertained the crowd with hits like ‘Young Hearts, Run Free’ and ‘You Got The Love’. Her voice is simply incredible live, as were the stories of showbusiness, divas and glamour that she told between songs.

Chic and Nile Rodgers were a funky bonus to a sunny Sunday afternoon, who had a huge party going on on the Main Stage. I’d be surprised if anyone didn’t drive home on Sunday night without ‘Le Freak’ playing over and over in their heads.

Sunday’s closing act Bryan Ferry was simply majestic. One of the coolest performers I have ever seen on stage, Bryan was suave, suited and sexy. As if one legend wasn’t enough, backing him up was former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. It was one of the best festival sets I’ve ever seen, with epic songs such as ‘Like A Hurricane’ being matched by the fun pop of ‘Let’s Stick Together’. The production was immense, even glossy records like ‘More Than This’ and ‘Avalon’ sounded flawless, Ferry’s voice has lost none of it’s unique tone or texture. His charisma was so strong that he could even afford to drop to the back of the stage and play the piano and still be the most captivating performer. Closing the festival with the epic ‘Jealous Guy’ and a rocking version of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ Ferry’s performance was memorable and unique, and like the festival itself, both classic and modern.

Hop Farm Festival 2012 Review

Hop Farm Festival is something else, something different, something fresh. A festival that puts the fans first, not the brands. It takes place in the sunny Kent village of Paddock Wood as a small army of cultured music fans gather together for a great eclectic lineup, a nice relaxed vibe and some memorable performances from music legends.

Friday saw the sun shining and fun party atmosphere set by George Clinton and the Parliament/Funkadelic. Clinton filled the stage with about 15 different performers including a sexy roller-skating nurse.’Give Up The Funk’ was an early contender for the best song of festival. Ray Davies kept the good mood going with Kinks classics like ‘Waterloo Sunset’, ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘Days’. There was a real sense that Ray was enjoying himself and the audience gave the love back.

Peter Gabriel headlined on Friday night backed by the talented New Blood Orchestra, as might be expected from the former Genesis front man who has consistently pushed the boundaries of Pop music, his set was very serious, deep and challenging. People wanting to dance, with the exception of Solsbury Hill, might have been disappointed as well as casual fans wanting to hear hits like ‘Sledgehammer’. Gabriel’s cover of Arcade Fire’s ‘My Body Is A Cage’ was spine chilling and he finished the set with an emotional version of ‘Don’t Give Up’.

The great weather continued through to Saturday, which was by far the busiest day of the festival, and with big names like Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Gary Numan and, well, Bruce Forsyth it’s easy to see why.

It was the first ever festival appearance from the Strictly Come Dancing presenter, and I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect from Brucie, not even the man himself. He brought a great sense of fun to the festival. The entertainment was light, the jokes were awful and the crowd loved it. Members of the audience holding up huge playing cards, wearing Bruce Forsyth maks, and Bruce even tap danced sitting down. The highlight of this, as Bruce called it, “madhouse,” was however his “Big Production Number,” where four lucky festival goers, including one dressed as a penguin got given top hats, and walking sticks and danced quite badly and out of time to each other behind an 84 year old man. It was magnificent.

Patti Smith’s punk poetry translated nicely to the festival stage, hits like ‘Because The Night’ and ‘Gloria’ closed a very successful set, having played an acoustic set last year it was nice to see her backed by a full band. Slightly overlapping with Patti Smith was Gary Numan, who’s heavy industrial set would have entertained fans, but those who only know him for ‘Cars’ and being sampled by the Sugarbabes might have been confused. Luckily for the younger festival goers Maximo Park provided an injection of bouncy indie pop.

The headliners on Saturday clashed with Bob Dylan on the Main Stage and Primal Scream in the Big Tent. Dylan attracted a large crowd and as a huge fan I was expecting an incredible set. Unfortunately Bob’s voice is not what it used to be, and all the bite, snarl and character had been lost. Dylan was static on stage, and it wasn’t long before people started to look elsewhere. After Bob had croaked his way through a personal favourite of mine ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ I decided it was time to see Bobby Gillespie and co.

My previous experiences of Primal Scream live have, admittedly, all been through the television and always seemed a little ropey, but they genuinely surprised me. They had the tent absolutely bouncing and their performance was simply electric. Classics like ‘Loaded’ and ‘Movin’ On Up’ loosened the crowd for a final push a of great songs, including ‘Come Together’ where the audience performed the chorus acapella at least 7 times before Bobby Gillespie dropped the beat for the final time round. Following this was ‘Country Girl’ and finally a triumphant version of ‘Rocks’. I hadn’t given up on Dylan completely however, and managed a couple of runs between the tents managing to catch Bob playing ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ and ‘All Along The Watchtower’. The, by this point, much depleted crowd was doing their best to interject some life with these anthems, but it was all coming from the memory of how the songs should have been played, not how they were being.

Sunday did not start well with Athlete bringing their dull, middle of the road indie to the festival. The band were by a long, long way the worst performance I saw at the whole festival. Perhaps the timing of early on Sunday (hungover) and the weather (wet) didn’t help them. Their set was as weak as the lager on sale, and their sub par Coldplay impression just completely failed to connect. Even triumphant set closer and number four hit in 2004 ‘Wires’ was lacklustre and didn’t wake anyone up from their morning slump. What they desperately needed was some kind of flashing wristbands gimmick to hide their boring performance.

Making up for this however was Sunday’s highlight King Charles who was an unknown to me before the festival, but I went on the recommendation of several strangers around the arena, and he did not disappoint. Playing a Prince style brand funk pop, he lit up the stage for the whole of his set, which culminated in his cover of ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ with updated lyrics for the 21st Century. It is possible however, that I only enjoyed King Charles so much because he wasn’t Athlete.

Gruff Rhys’ successful blend of experimental psychedelia and power pop is a niche market, but he drew a large crowd for the third stage and did not disappoint. As is always a risk with power pop, some songs came off as slightly twee, but Rhys’ “on a different planet” stage manner made up for this. Another stand out moment was Richard Ashcroft, who dutifully went through his hits from the 90s. It was slightly odd hearing his “demonisation of the working class.” rant at the start of ‘Bittersweet Symphony’, which was met with great applause from the very middle class audience who would be commuting back to London after Suede had finished.

Suede have been festival regulars since reforming in 2009 and did exactly what was expected of them in their closing set. The band attracted a decent sized crowd and Brett Anderson gave every ounce of effort possible to entertain. ‘Animal Nitrate’ got the crowd moving early on and they kept going right through to ‘Beautiful Ones’ just before the encore of classics like ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Still Life’. It was a strong finish to a successful festival, which provided a great mix of music for the fans and a decent alternative to the more commercial events.

Bourbon Kid Interview

The Bourbon Kid is the international best selling author of The Book With No Name, The Eye Of The Moon, The Devil’s Graveyard and his latest novel The Book Of Death was released on Kindle last week. The books are fast paced, pulpy fun with plenty of murders, badass characters and lots of laughs.

The obvious comparison to the books is that of a Tarantino film, taking small parts (or sometimes very large chunks) of style from different genres and fusing them all together in a ferociously paced page turner. The Book With No Name was the number one selling eBook in Spain last year, and the sequels weren’t far behind. Given the cinematic quality of the writing it is not surprising that there are rumours of a film adaptation swirling around.

The novels are mostly set in the fictional town of Santa Mondega, a small wasteland full of unsavoury characters regularly drinking, getting into fights and murdering each other. Sanchez is an overweight barman, who’s bar, the Tapioca, most of the action revolves around. The Bourbon Kid is another main character, a vicious serial killer, who might not be the bad guy that everyone assumes he is.

The Bourbon Kid is also the alias that the anonymous author gives credit to his work, you can follow him on Twitter here and here’s what he had to say to my questions.

What made you decide to go back to Santa Mondega for The Book Of Death after branching out and satirising X-Factor in The Devil’s Graveyard?

I wanted to finish off the Santa Mondega story. I always saw book 2 (The Eye of the Moon) as my Empire Strikes Back. The good guys get a bit of a pasting in book 2 and it doesn’t end particularly well for most of them. I knew a lot of people wanted to know what happened next, so after I finished The Devil’s Graveyard I went back and tied up all the loose ends from The Eye of the Moon. I guess that makes The Book of Death my Return of the Jedi, except instead of Ewoks I have Sunflower Girls!

The Book Of Death was published in French first and the books are popular in Europe, why do you think this is/what made you decide to go international?

A lot of countries outside of the UK like their heroes to be much darker. In the UK and US heroic characters tend to have very politically correct values and morals. I like anti-heroes but in English literature anti-heroes are really tame. The Bourbon Kid is basically a bad guy who will kill anyone, but that’s exactly the kind of guy I’d want on my side if I was surrounded by vampires.

In the UK when I was trying to get the first book published all of the UK publishers rejected it because it didn’t fit into a specific genre. But Foreign publishers and the book buying public embraced it for that very reason. Seeing the books do well internationally is brilliant and it’s always a thrill to see the different covers.

What’s the current situation with the film of The Book With No Name?

The latest news is that it’s being developed into a TV series called Pulp. There’s some information about it in this Variety magazine link -http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118055418?refcatid=14

Both Sanchez and JD were a lot more heroic in the latest book, or did you always want them to be the ‘good guys’?

In Sanchez’s case I felt it was important for his character arc that he should finally do something heroic, although in keeping with his character most of his heroic acts are either unintentional or under protest. With JD I guess there were just so many bad guys to kill in The Book of Death that he didn’t have time to do anything else so he ended up being quite heroic for a change.

What’s next? Elvis, Rodeo Rex and the Kid travelling from town to town?

Funny you should ask. I was recently thinking about that idea. If I ever follow up on it I think I’d have to find a way of getting Sanchez involved too. Elvis, Rex and the Kid could easily defeat any enemies, but if you throw Sanchez into the mix he’d keep messing up their plans, which would make it a lot more interesting! At the moment though, I’m working on something completely different with an entirely new set of characters.

How do you visualise the novel when you start writing, are there wallcharts/timelines/whiteboards keeping track of whose alive or not?

I usually have one or two scenes in my head. I write them down as if they are the first few chapters and then I wrap the rest of the story around them. Once I’ve finished the first draft I write a summary of each chapter and then I start tidying it up. I usually rewrite it six or seven times until it looks absolutely nothing like the first draft. For example with The Eye of the Moon the first chapter I wrote ended up being chapter 60 and the last chapter I wrote was chapter 32. It’s a stressful way to write though. I think wallcharts / timelines and whiteboards are probably a better idea!

What advice would you give to people who are trying to become ‘self published sensations’?

Write your story the way you want to write it. My writing got better when I stopped trying to sound like a writer and started writing how I talk. It’s easier that way and I can’t sound any stupider than I am.

Also it doesn’t hurt to make lots of friends online. Networking is crucial to succeeding in self-publishing. And never give up. When I first self-published The Book With No Name in 2006 I worked incredibly hard at drumming up interest online. But it still took about 3 months to sell the first 100 copies. It also got some pretty nasty online reviews from other self-published authors. There were times when I felt like quitting because with all the rejection letters, bad reviews and poor sales it didn’t seem like it was worth all the effort. That book is now an international bestseller because thankfully I didn’t quit when things got tough.

With Twilight making vampires ‘cool’ a couple of years after TBWNN and the self published 50 Shades series dominating book sales do you ever feel like you’re always at the party too early? Or do you like being ahead of the curve?

It’s funny because vampires were really out of fashion when I wrote TBWNN but since Twilight they’re everywhere. And self-publishing was sneered at back in 2006 when I did it. After TBWNN started selling well I approached an agent about it and told him I’d sold thousands online. He refused to read it and told me that the fact I’d self-published was proof I wasn’t good enough to be published properly. What a bellend! Publishers are constantly on the lookout for self-published successes now.

I suppose I have always been at the party a bit early, but I’m a firm believer in always trying to do something that no one else is doing. There will be a million 50 Shades of Grey rip-offs hitting the shelves in the next twelve months. I’ll be working on something that hasn’t been done to death.

Here’s the video trailer for The Book Of Death http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM40qie7co4