diamond geezer

 Thursday, June 30, 2005

The best of June

TV programmes of the month (two of which are highly predictable)
1) Doctor Who (BBC1): Back in March, only a few true fans dared to dream that a wobbly-setted seventies classic could be resurrected with any degree of dignified success. Now the whole country believes. Forget David Tennant's grinning debut - the most impressive regeneration has been the series itself.
2) Big Brother (E4): My Freeview box now gives me access to hours and hours of live feed courtesy of E4's big red button. Which is perfect passive viewing when there's nothing on any of the other 40 channels. Which is far too often.
(n.b. here's Eugene's failed attempt to become a county councillor and here's Orla's modelling portfolio)
3) A Digital Picture of Britain (BBC4): Each week this televisual gem, the sister programme to David Dimbleby's UK watercolour travelogue, provides three top photographers with a digital camera and asks them to go out and capture images from urban, rural and industrial environments. One of them usually gets a top-of-the-range model, but another is lumbered with a mobile phone camera and expected to perform miracles. Which, invariably, they do. The salutary lesson for all budding photographers that it's far more important what you point at rather than what you point at with. Get the light and framing right and you too could snap a mini masterpiece. Top advice here. Viewers are uploading their landscape portraits to create an ever-growing online gallery - why not submit something yourself?

Album of the month: Tales From Turnpike House is a concept album from top beat combo Saint Etienne. They've written a suite of sublime ditties about the residents of a (real) tower block in Islington, thereby constructing a new style urban concept album that's far sweeter than the Streets. It's sparkly, poetic and effortless, unexpectedly so, and utterly charming, My favourite track is Milk Bottle Symphony, possibly the only song ever to namecheck both Unigate and quilted dressing gowns. Anyone for a cuppa?

Film of the month: Child abuse is a difficult theme to pull off in the cinema without coming over as sensationalist or exploitational, but Mysterious Skin managed to be sharp, thought-provoking and entertaining throughout. There were fine performances from the lead actors too, one of whom is now considerably lankier than when he used to play the annoying kid in Third Rock From The Sun. Beware your Little League baseball coach, kids, he may just screw up your life.

Long walk of the month: I may have walked 12 miles due west, but you should see Huw's walk due south from Tufnell Park to Clapham. Such detail. Anyone else want to have a go?

Ballet of the month: While you lot were at work yesterday afternoon, I was sitting amongst the lavender-scented matinee audience in the Theatre Royal in Norwich watching my niece tread the boards in the English Youth Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. I'm a devoted uncle, me. The EYB work with local children in regional theatres around the country putting on full-length classical ballets, and yesterday they had 112 young East Anglians tiptoeing about on stage looking every inch the professional. Judging by the queue of bouquets arriving at the Stage Door, the rest of the audience were equally impressed.

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