Saturday, February 12, 2011

The TV Listings (7)

We're overdue another roundup of my video postings.  Here are the viewing highlights from the last quarter of 2010 (a particularly busy time for music posting!).  Something for the weekend....

The Comedy/Movie Channel

Merry Xmas, Everybody  -  I find a superb stop-motion video to accompany Slade's stomping Christmas anthem. (See also below, under Music.)

An appeal for Mongolian artists - a video promoting the work of two Mongolian artists who, along with my Belgian film-maker friend Vanessa De Smet, were running a (ultimately successful) Kickstarter appeal to raise money for a couple of major projects and a proposed European tour.

A little bit of Zen  -  I find (once again via the indispensable JES) a gorgeous short stop-motion film by Polish art student Alicja Cioch, inspired by How To Grow Clouds, a delightful little prose poem by one of my favourite writers, the Czech Karel Čapek.

What, pray, is a bogan?  -  my favourite bar owner introduces me to an essential piece of Aussie slang, meaning white trash low-life.  The concept is illustrated by Melbourne comic 'The Angry Aussie' and by Oz ska band Area-7's catchy comedy hit Nobody Likes A Bogan(See also below, under Music.)

What is it about the Finns??  - grown men performing an a capella musical number in sumo suits?!  It could only be the outlandish Finnish troupe Semmarit.  They do put on a very fine show.  (See also below, under Music.)

Oh, What A Lovely War!  -  I mark Remembrance Sunday with the impossibly poignant closing scene from Richard Attenborough's marvellous satirical musical on World War I.  (See also below, under Music.) 

Great movie lines  -  a debate about what makes a memorable, quotable line (and whether recent cinema is lacking them), inspires me to go rooting around on YouTube for collections of examples.  There are links to a recent American Film Institute 'Top 100' (in four parts) and one or two other compilations as well, but the pick of the crop I chose to embed is a 'Top 100 in 200 seconds'.  (Quite a lively comment thread on this one, too.)

Stop it!  -  a great little skit from Mad TV, with poor Mo Collins discovering that therapist Bob Newhart has a very unorthodox approach to dealing with neurosis (yet another introduction from JES!).

Grand Prix  -  a review of John Frankenheimer's great motor racing film from 1966, closing with the Belgian Grand Prix sequence from it, which includes extended in-car shots of the terrifyingly fast (and safety-free!) road circuit at Spa-Francorchamps.  (See also below, under Sport.)

The Music Channel

Stand By Me  -  an unfortunate experience in the recording studio prompted me to seek consolation in the classic Ben E. King number.  I posted links to Ben's version and the famous Lennon cover, but my great discovery here was a video of assorted street performers from around the world doing it (part of the Playing For Change project).

Merry Xmas, Everybody  -  how could my Christmas entry in The Barstool's 'Great Songs' series not be the Slade classic?  (See also above, under Comedy.)

Free Nelson Mandela!  -  my concern about a possible police crackdown on this year's Beijing Santacon prompts me to post a video of this classic protest song by The Specials (which, I suggest, could now be adopted as an expression of support for Liu Xiaobo).  Also, a link to a rather good live version by Amy Winehouse, from an AIDS benefit concert in 2008.

Nobody Likes A Bogan  -  a song we hear rather a lot of in my favourite little Aussie boozer, but it's starting to grow on me.  (See also above, under Comedy.)

Pump It Up  -  I used to find Elvis Costello's spastic 'dancing' on this video deeply unsettling when I was a kid, but nowadays I've warmed to this infectiously jaunty number (a key part of the music playlist on Nigel's 'Special Mondays', the musical and drinking highlight of my year).

Sweet Jane and Blue Moon Revisited  -  since Margo Timmins, the velvet-voiced frontwoman of Cowboy Junkies, is finally acknowledged as my ultimate 'Fantasy Girlfriend', I post a double-whammy of two of their greatest songs.

Caravan  -  the Duke Ellington instrumental is a quirky favourite of my French musician chum, Jean-Sebastien Héry, who regularly uses it as the set-closer for his awesome blues-rock band, The Amazing Insurance Salesman (who had just won the China round of the 'World Battle of the Bands', and are shortly to take part in the Grand Final in Kuala Lumpur - good luck, boys!!).  This still seems to be the only bit of video of AIS on the Internet - well worth a look! 

Bonsai  -  a great number from quirky Finnish choir Semmarit, who I saw perform in Beijing recently.  (See also above, under Comedy.)

And When They Ask Us How Dangerous It Was  -  for Remembrance Sunday, I post this heartbreaking song from the WWI satire Oh, What A Lovely War!  (See also above, under Movies.)

I Wanna Be Sedated  -  a quick blast of The Ramones!  And why not?

Ruby's Eyes  -  a pretty little song from Tommy Emmanuel, the Australian finger-picking guitar virtuoso.

Across The Universe  -  three highly contrasting versions of the classically trippy John Lennon song, by Fiona Apple (from the end credits of the film Pleasantville), disturbingly weird Slovenian "art-rock" outfit Laibach, and, of course, The Beatles (with a homemade video from a Youtuber).

Sentimento  -  a song from the marvellous Cape Verde singer Cesaria Evora (who was supposed to have been playing in Beijing, but I'm not sure if it ever happened; if it did, it appears to have been a 'cadres only' event, with no tickets made available to the general public - boo!).

Piece Of My Heart  -  I find a great clip of Janis Joplin performing one of her trademark songs on a 1960s TV show (and throw in links to Try (Just A Little Bit Harder), To Love Somebody, and Cry, Baby! as well) to mark the 40th anniversary of her untimely death.

Her Morning Elegance  -  I post this song by Israeli singer-songwriter Oren Lavie not so much for the music (which is fairly blandly forgettable), but for the stunning stop-motion animation of the video (and, yes, for the utterly gorgeous actress Shir Shomron who appears in it).

The Sports Channel

F1 in the 1960s  -  a great clip from John Frankenheimer's 1966 film Grand Prix, recreating the Belgian Grand Prix of that era, with some stunning in-car footage.  (See also above, under Movies.)

Snooker 'gods'  -  Ronnie O'Sullivan's recent coup (of anticipating that he was going to make a perfect clearance of 147 after the first couple of shots!) inspired me to dig out a few examples of the genius of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, the greatest player of the game during my childhood (and, probably, ever - although his temperament was too erratic for him ever to achieve consistent dominance of the sport, he could do things that were simply impossible).  I embedded Ronnie's maximum break, and the climax of Alex's victory over the Welshman Doug Mountjoy in the 2nd round of the 1982 World Championship (which Alex went on to win), and provided links to a couple more superb breaks by Higgins.

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