Thursday, January 31, 2008


Sarah went into town yesterday and brought a copy of the Metro back with her, it's a free London paper that usually has nothing worth reading in it but you can't help picking one up and thumbing through it anyway. The Metro's only useful function is to provide something to peruse when you're on the London Underground and you've forgotten to bring a book. You can try putting off the inevitable by reading all the adverts on the train fourty-seven times but eventually you'll grab one of the many discarded copies littering the train carriage and start flicking through the paper (unless you're one of those lucky people that can doze on a train and never have to resort to such desperate measures).

The Metro's most heinous crime is the inclusion of the comic strip 'Nemi' by Norwegian cartoonist, Lise.
Nemi is the second most popular strip in Norway, according to Wikipedia. The Nemi gallery on the Metro site, part of the heading says: her or hate her, she always gets a reaction!

I can't argue with that. My reaction in this case was goggle-eyed, head-smacking disbelief; that a cartoonist could be so lazy and unfunny at the same time. Cutting corners I can understand, producing a comic strip day in, day out isn't the doddle that it may appear and if you can come up with an idea that allows for an easy ride once in a while, I'm all for it. There are times when the economical approach can be more effective and successful than any other. But if you're going to be this lazy and not even try to improve or enhance the joke with some artwork then it had better be brilliant...

This makes me want to weep. A black panel in which all you're imagining is Nemi sitting on the loo. It's not funny, it's not clever but it is weak and boring. If she was shouting in annoyance at the perpetrator then it might have, at least, raised a small smile of recognition. Instead we get an explanation of why there's a black panel.

Edit: I forgot to mention that the "older sibling" line doesn't make much sense either, surely a younger sibling is more likely to muck about and turn the lights off? And how often is the light switch on the outside of the toilet? Can't say I've found it to be all that often. 

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Super F*cking Awesome

I've been to see the Super Furry Animals about 3 times this year alone. I like them a lot but my girlfriend, Sarah, likes them even more. All the gigs have been good or great but they were absolutely fantastic at the Royal Festival Hall last night. The actual RFH auditorium wasn't being used but all the rest of the building was used in some form or another, there were special themed bars - one was a joke VIP bar with fake bouncers outside and mock paparazzi taking photos of anybody that was entering which would then appear on screens inside the bar, there were lookalikes of famous people milling about helping add to the illusion. There were weird little attractions like the smallest discotheque in the world (10 people max) and all sorts of other strange bits of fun and silliness.

SFA played three times over the course of the evening, each set lasting about forty-five minutes or so, their performances were interspersed with sets from Deerhoof and Adam Hussein, early on it all seemed a bit subdued but by the last set the place had really filled up, SFA were going for broke and the audience were having a wonderful time. Being right on the South Bank meant we could go out on the terrace and have a great view of the fireworks and do lots of ooh-ing and ahhh-ing. After the display we went back in and the band were still playing and building up to their usual finale of 'The Man Don't Give A F*ck' which was joyful and mind-blowing, especially with the surround sound effects zipping around the foyer of the RFH. A blissful, wonderful evening that left Sarah and me with big, stupid grins on out faces. And that's coming from an old curmudgeon who doesn't normally do anything very special on New Year's Eve and usually just prefers to have a relaxed drink with a few friends.

I also got to catch up with my oldest friend, Hardeep and some of his mates, it's been a long time since we've seen each other and it was lovely to see him, have a laugh, take the piss and enjoy the pleasantly inebriated evening together.

All this was topped off by a leisurely stroll over the Hungerford footbridge to Embankment tube station, taking the time out to gaze at the beautiful view of the river and the surrounding buildings and admire how stunning London looks at night.

A truly positive and very heartening start to the New Year, here's hoping it continues in that vein.

Happy New Year to you all!