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A few posts ago, I recommended a bunch of albums. One in particular deserves revisiting – Version by Mark Ronson

MR

There’s some great covers on there (and a couple of rotten ones, Robbie). The two that have got the most airtime so far are ‘Valerie’ featuring Amy Winehouse (from The Zutons original) and ‘Oh My God’ with the diminutive Lily Allen (from the Kaiser Chiefs). However, the stand-out for me is the cover of ‘Just’ by Radiohead. In this case Mark Ronson has collaborated with Alex Greenwald – the lead singer of Phantom Planet and occasional actor (he was in that indiest of early 21st century films, Donnie Darko). Phantom Planet are best known for ‘California’ – used as a theme song for The O.C., another cult outing (albeit one that’s not quite so cool).

Radiohead fans tend to be pretty fervent and one-eyed (when they’re not killing themselves after listening to too much Radiohead of course) and as such you could easily expect an outcry for covering one of their classics (at least it wasn’t ‘Creep’ I guess). But they’d be missing a trick. Covers tend to go one of two ways, slowed down or sped up. This has a slight slow down, but not too much and the real greatness is the touch of bounce and funk that Ronson’s added.

Plus you don’t have to think about Thom Yorke’s malformed John Simm-alike face.

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Loz Text: I’m having drinks with Dave. And Belinda Carlisle is on.

Rapid GF phonecall: Who’s this Belinda Carlisle and why are you having drinks with her?

I’m sure I’m not the first to compare Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman

SIWBI

and The Hooziers ‘Goodbye Mr A’ off ‘The Trick To Life’

Hooziers

One’s a goodtime fun book, mildly satirical without being actually cutting or funny, about Superhoeroes and Villains, t’other is a great modern indie single, with a catchy chorus. Both are my picks to make it good and big in 2007.

(Technically it’s 2008 now. But I’m trying to look cool and authoritative. Let’s just keep this between you, me and the datestamp on this post)

Honestly, has there ever been anything written that’s better than ‘No One Knows’ by Queens of the Stone Age? Kick-ass bass-line, awesome riffs and just a brilliant song.

Metro is a free paper distributed at stations and tube stops throughout London each morning. It’s a priceless and invaluable resource, worth every penny.

This morning, the differently-talented Aidan Radnedge reported on the continuing tale of the Societe Generale trader who lost £3.6bn for the company through fraud (most likely to cover up his own incompetence). There are quotes and speculation about motive before some classic tabloid investigation into the guy’s background – talking to a union official (what on earth has a union got to do with trading?) and his old lecturers at Lyon University. And then, the true horror. The real reason behind it all. The insight is diamond-sharp, the research detailed and deep, laying this poor trader’s soul out for everyone, surely a Pulitzer is now inevitable:

“Kerviel’s Facebook page had 11 friends before the scandal broke – but this was down to four last night”

Aidan Radnedge, shut the fuck up.

Updated: The Daily Mash has an excellent take on the story.

It’s always pleasing when you realise that your mate has made a blogpost faster than your RSS reader, because you notice a picture he’s put up on flickr…

While there’s some pretty decent British TV around at the mo (ref. aforementioned Property Porn, the occasional QuizCom and, err, I dunno, Doctor Who? Life On Mars?) the sad fact is that, in general, Yanquis do it better. Of course, this is aided by far, far bigger budgets and a distinctly larger pool of talent, but over the past decades, the likes of The West Wing, Battlestar Galactica, The US version of The Office (seriously, check it out, it’s differently brilliant), Heroes, 24, Alias, Lost etc., etc. have massively outclassed any British efforts in scope if not class.

The one area that they’ve not been quite as far ahead is the sitcom – Friends is good, but not exactly edgy, Frasier was a one-joke show, and how anyone watched a whole episode of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ let alone the full 210 of its run is beyond me. Recently, there have been a couple of decent shows (‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, Scrubs…) – but they can only just keep pace with the likes of Spaced, Black Books, Father Ted from these isles.

Anyway, back to the title of this piece, with the current Writers Strike going on in the States, there’ve been very few new episodes of some of my favourite American shows to watch. As a result, I’ve spread my net slightly further and come across 30 Rock. It starts slow but picks up quickly and continuously improves. So much praise should go to Tina Fey for her performance and her writing, but it’s Alec Baldwin that makes it – and here we come to the crux. No British show (be it sitcom or drama) can afford the likes of a Baldwin, Sutherland, Sheen, or hell, even Edward James Olmos. Simon Pegg made Big Train and Spaced and guest starred in Black Books, but what are the chances of him ever returning to sitcom in the UK since Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz?

So where’s the future in the UK? Well the one small advantage is we tend to make short seasons (8 episodes rather than 22-26). At least you can then get 2-3 years out of people before they move on. But quality drama/sitcoms? I just can’t see anything lasting beyond 3 years without major cast changes – because there just isn’t the money to keep people in TV in the UK.

My middle-aged, middle-class existence is complete. Between Channel4, E4 and More 4 I can watch vague combinations of Property Ladder, Relocation, Relocation and Grand Designs non-stop from about 7pm till 11 almost every night.

The only remaining question is – Kill, Marry, Fuck? on:

Sarah Beeny
Kirstie Allsopp
Kevin McCloud

Ahead of the difficult second snowboarding trip that’s coming up, I ordered a nice shiny new ski jacket from Snow+Rock. Everything went fine and dandy and I awaited delivery. Of the card saying they’d missed me and would try again the next day. No card the next day, nor for three more working days. So I ‘phoned up Snow+Rock to get the Parcelforce tracker number. Perfectly helpful people, they provided it for me and so I began my odyssey.

I tracked the parcel on their website which claimed they’d tried to redeliver it twice more (without leaving any trace of this). Fortunately, there’s a phone number you can call to arrange further redelivery – either at home, or to a new address (£5 surcharge) or to a local post office (50p charge). Figuring they’d only try and redeliver it when I wasn’t there again, I guessed the local post office option would be best and dialled them up.

Parcelforce’s phone system is all menus and voice recognition. Some of the voice recognition works pretty well – it got the 4-letter/10-digit tracker number straightaway, although struggled a bit on post codes and addresses. Still, everything went well, delivery was booked and I waited for a few days before popping down to the post office. No parcel. A few days more? No parcel. And again… no parcel.

Right-o, this time I’ll just use the web-site and rebook it directly there. Everything goes through smoothly and it gives me a delivery date to the post office… which comes, goes and no parcel. Few days more… no parcel.

This time I try the phone again thinking that at least I’ll speak to some one and get it sorted. None of the menus have any option to talk to an operator. They other just repeat to infinity or direct you to the website. Brilliant.

Next time I’m just going to get it from the shop.

Anyway, with this sort of frustration I did what I always do and splurge on some music from HMV. So I recommend to you:

BSPBritish Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music

AMcAmy McDonald – This Is The Life

MRMark Ronson – Version

PWTPlain White T’s – Every Second Counts

Come ON! You Spurs!

That win, and Kate Nash! In one day! Wow.

What Has Gone Before

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i miss your disposition and your strength to see the best in everyone
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