Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Television Review

The new sitcom from Ricky Gervais, An Annoying Full-of-Himself Man Gets His Comeuppance With Excruciating but Hilarious Results, is another triumph from the Emmy Award-winning comedian. It marks a new stage in the career of the funnyman, and shows that he is capable of an incredible range of talent.

The Imaginary Review has seen An Annoying Full-of-Himself Man Gets His Comeuppance With Excruciating but Hilarious Results and we can certainly say that it displays a remarkable departure from Gervais's normal output. As with his other comedies, Gervais appears in the main role, but here his character is incredibly different to those from his other shows. Unlike David Brent, who was irritating and arrogant, and the bloke from Extras, who was obnoxious and pompous, his new character is annoying and full of himself. Truly, Ricky Gervais is a man who can pull off any role.

The style of the new comedy is very different from those previously mentioned, too. In it, Ricky's character usually ends up getting his comeuppance, and the results are hilarious. But at the same time, they're also somewhat excruciating. Indeed, one could say that the comeuppance has Excruciating and Hilarious results.

Consider, if you will, the results of Gervais's character's comeuppance in the first episode. At times you - the viewer - will be cringing out of the sheer excruciation of the comeuppance. But you'll be laughing too, as the results of the comeuppance are also hilarious. Gervais has already won the British Comedy Award for actor, sitcom and genius of the year 2008, despite the fact that nobody else has seen the new show. Apparently he will win next year's Emmy for best actor in December, a month before the series begins on television.

Did I mention that his character is Annoying and Full of himself? Brilliant.

The Imaginary Review can't recommend An Annoying Full-of-Himself Man Gets His Comeuppance With Excruciating but Hilarious Results enough. We haven't actually seen the final episode from the series, due to a veil of secrecy from the producers, but we'd bet a tenner to a penny that it's hilarious! (And excruciating. And something to do with a comeuppance.)

An Annoying Full-of-Himself Man Gets His Comeuppance With Excruciating but Hilarious Results will be shown on BBC One after Christmas, shortly after you've been made practically orgasmic with anticipation by a series of idents that make it look different from all his other shows, but which will cause a crushing disappointment not unlike losing your virginity to a spotty premature-ejaculating adolescent at a party, with similar feelings of regret and betrayal.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Art Exhibition Review: Saint Whopp's (CofE) Primary School

I attended the opening night of Saint Whopp's Primary School's annual art exhibition with my son, Monty, hoping that this year's festival of paint would be better than last year's godawful shiteshow. How wrong I was.

Take Tommy Chapstick's work, for example, if you want to see why St Whopp's school is famed for its laughable art. The thick strokes of blue, yellow and red are daubed on the paper in such an amateurish fashion that I initially thought someone had mounted dog vomit on the wall. If only they had. Chapstick (6 and a half) should be ashamed of the drivel to which he is subjecting the world. It was all I could do to stop myself from spitting on the painting, entitled, incidentally, My Mummy.

Suzie Bedknobs (5) is another artist whose work would be better off used as toilet paper in the elephant house at the zoo. While her vivid swirly circles are no doubt intended to evoke the spirit of Kandinsky, instead they evoke the kind of bloated indigestion that one gets after eating too many snails. Maybe the swirls are supposed to be snails. Who can tell? Who cares? Not I.

I have never felt as physically sick when looking at a work of art as when looking at seven year old Robert Fromme's painting, My House. Not even during Pierre Gabstank's installation that comprised of nothing but rotten eggs and deer crap. The shit on the paper was enough to make me shout obscenities at Fromme's father, Bill. Fromme Sr. became angry with me so I resorted to punching him for raising such an untalented child. Then I punched Robert for being so crap.

The only saving grace in the entire show was the wonderful work by brilliant genius child Monty Reviewer. The beauty of the subtle, gradiated colours in his painting, Daddy, were enough to put tears in my eyes. That the hands of the figure in his painting had seven and ten fingers, respectively, was unimportant. The child really caught the essence, the spirit of his subject. This work alone is more than enough to make up for the rest of the dross on display here. So come and see for yourself!

Saint Whopp's Primary School's art exhibition is on until their next art lesson, when the paintings will be sent home with the kids. To discourage nonces, all male visitors to the school must leave their testicles with the bursar.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

New Pet Review: Ted the Unknown Species

I bought Ted from the local pet shop because he had very impressive plumage. I figured that such a magnificent-looking creature would also have some intelligence, or at least be able to do some tricks. Not so. My new pet is as dumb as a tree.

I am unsure as to what species of creature Ted is. The man in the pet shop was unable to tell me, he said he specialised in dogs, which makes sense to me because he looked like a dalmation. If any readers can tell me what kind of animal Ted is, I would be very grateful.

Getting Ted home, I was very excited to show him to his hutch. I sat him in front of it, but he showed little to no emotion at his new home. Indeed, he made no attempts to get into it. I wondered if a basket were more appropriate for Ted's species, but he wasn't interested in that either. All he seemed to want to do was sit and look at his new digs.

I took Ted's lack of enthusiasm to be typical of an animal moved into new surroundings. He was probably being a bit shy, so I left him where he was, hoping that he would settle in while I slept in my bed (which is a double as I move about a lot in my sleep). However, when I got up the next morning, Ted had not moved.

I have tried to teach Ted all sorts of tricks, but to avail. I have sat in front of him repeating the phrase 'My name is Ted' for six hours, but he still hasn't spoken to me. This is more than can be said for my neighbours, who have been round to see why I have been claiming to be someone else all afternoon. Ted is a troublesome creature.

Incidentally, I'm a little worried for his health. He hasn't eaten the bowl of food I left out for him after I got him; he's starting to look a little ill. If I can't get him to eat something soon, I'm scared he'll pass on. And I don't want the Animal Welfare people on my heels.

Ted refuses to sit, although for all I know he could be sitting already. I'm not entirely sure what his legs are. He's probably hiding them. Needless to say, he won't come on walkies with me, despite the nice new leather lead I got for him. Begging, giving me his paw, rolling over...he won't do any of them.

All in all, Ted remains a rubbish pet. He does no tricks, he shows no interest in his master and he is not cute. On the plus side, he does let me dress him up in hats. But that's it. To be honest, for all the enjoyment I get from this pet, I might as well put him on a shelf and leave him there to look nice.

Like a plant.

Ted, wearing one of my hats, ignores the water I left out for him.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Film Review - Evil Blood II: The Hurtening

The latest directoral masterpiece from Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) comes just in time for Hallowe'en. Evil Blood II: The Hurtening is the sequel to the popular 2002 horror film in which Eliza Dushku and Sean William Scott were chased around an abandoned quarry by a ghostly quantity surveyor. This film, set three years after the events in the prequel, sees the quarry once again possessed by the spirits of the damned, but this time they mean business!

And what business they do! Lee's fine direction brings a wonderfully thrilling sense of aesthetic pleasure to the many death scenes. The garroting and facial slicing of one character is particularly gruesome, but with Lee's keen eye for colour the blood, puke and eye fluid have a gloriously vivid beauty. The settings, too, are stunning; in the wrong hands a cabin full of pig carcasses and human corpses stuffed with offal could look grotesque and unpleasant. But in The Hurtening this building is rendered with such feeling, such sensitivity, that it is almost chapel-like in its gothic beauty.

Lee's talents don't end there. He has managed to wrangle the most moving performances from his cast. Dame Judy Dench, for example, is simply remarkable in the role of Brenda. I really did believe that she was a high-school dropout caught between the whims of her parents and the desire for rebellion. Also, the role of Sherrif Bick was perfect for John Hurt, who can convey so much disbelief in the stories of children with a simple gravelly expression. Dame Thora Hird also shines as the evil ghosts' leader.

The story itself is rich with allegory and laden with hidden meaning. Ostensibly a tribute to the works of Luis Brunel and Ray Harryhausen, there are too many different interpretations in each stab wound and red-hot poker through the stomach to mention here. There's also a subtle nod in the direction of the US government in the form of a brief side plot in which a load of soldiers attack a foreign country and get their arses kicked by a load of terrorists.

To summarize then, Evil Blood II: The Hurtening is another glorious entry into the annals of cinema, all made possible by the genius of Ang Lee. I await his next picture - a live-action adaptation of the Thundercats cartoon - with bated breath.

Evil Blood II: The Hurtening opens on October 19th in several cinemas in London and fuck all else. Ang Lee will be appearing at an in-store tit signing in HMV, Great Yarmouth on the 21st.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Music Review Review

David Trebuchet, the highly regarded music reviewer from the San Francisco Corinthian newspaper, has done it again! He recently turned his erudite pen and scathing wit upon the latest teen-marketed pop sensation, and the results are nothing short of genius.

The first sentence in his review of Dippy Twilight's forthcoming album, Loving to Love the Love, gives us a foreglimpse of the wonders to come. "Let's face it," he says, "Nobody thinking of buying this album is going to be reading this review, so why don't we have some fun?" This reviewer couldn't agree more.

Trebuchet then launches into a damning attack of the popular music scene in general. He is most famous for his cynicism in the face of manufactured pop artists, so the fact that Dippy Twilight is actually two people who were fused together by the Sony Music Group definitely angers him. "When there are so many great musicians and bands on the scene (Casket of Geese, The Spasms, Adam Youell and the Bedford Vans, for example), why would Sony need to find two vaguely attractive young women and stitch them together in order to create anodyne music?"

The reviewer is just as scathing when it comes to the songs on the album, with his dismissal of the title track being particularly amusing: "'Loving to Love the Love' sounds like a cross between a children's party being attacked by a race of helium balloons and a baboon farting in my ear. The lyrics sound like they were written by a blind epileptic in charge of a box of magnetic fridge poetry. The music is as vapid and tasteless as a Fox News diatribe."

The only flat point in Trebuchet's review is his unfair comparison between the music of Dippy Twilight and the music of Peter and the Test-Tube Babies. It's well-known at the moment that Trebuchet has co-written a Broadway musical on the career of the punk band, so his constant mentioning of the band in his reviews is an unwelcome intrusion. Otherwise, the review of 'Loving to Love the Love' is another wonderful addition to Trebuchet's ouvre.

In conclusion, I will again quote Trebuchet, this time in his discussion of Dippy Twilight's forthcoming single, 'Amy Used to eat Newspaper': "If anyone ever asks me to listen to this shit again, I'll strangle them with a barbed-wire fence."

Saturday, 8 September 2007

New Hats!

Wow! There are so many new hats available this week that I had to review some of them! Huzzah for hats!

The first hat that I will review is a blue hat. It is about six inches tall with a furry bit on the top. The furry bit is slightly darker than the rest of the hat, which is lighter than the furry bit. The blue is a very nice colour. This hat is a nice hat!

Ooh! Next I've seen a small hat. I don't like the small hat. It won't fit on my head! Why is this hat so small? What were they thinking? Stupid hat. Too small.

Round red hat: The round red hat looks funny, so I like wearing it. It has a lovely tassle on the top for swinging the hat around your head. The round red hat with tassle can be thrown at cars, donkeys or clouds. Hat!

My favourite hat of the week is the Woolen hat. The woolen hat is very warm in winter, and makes for a lovely centrepiece in summer. You could use it as a teacosy! Woolen hats are good for the environment because removing wool prevents sheep from getting too big and taking up all the fields. Woolen hats save the planet! (Earth)

Today I saw a man wearing a Baseball cap with a funny slogan on it. I can't remember the slogan but it made me smile and forget all the bad things that have happened to me recently, like the dog that gave me a funny look and the earth-shattering despair that has grabbed hold of my soul and is squeezing the life out of me. The cap was, therefore, my favouritest cap ever, since the woolen hat, which I already said was my favourite.


Friday, 7 September 2007

Gourmet Flour Round-Up

The latest craze that’s hardening the cocks of top chefs everywhere is gourmet flour. While it’s possible to make decent cakes and pastries using bog-standard supermarket self-raising or all-purpose, no self-respecting Michelin-starred cook would be seen dead with a bag of Hovis on their shelf. The Imaginary Review decided to give you the dilly-o on the newest bags of overpriced cookery powder.

Bratislavan Dilmouse Flour is available at the Shitfor Deli in Highgate. The Bratislavan dilmouse is a small shrew-like creature that secretes a fine powdery substance after coitus. This powder, believed to have magical properties, is gathered by children and added to flour and sold to idiots in overpriced shops. The flour, priced at £23.99 per cubit, has a slight tangy quality, like a collection of lemon rinds swimming for freedom in a castle moat made of Fanta. There’s an almost pungent aftertaste with inklings of peat, almond nuttiness and despair.

The Sennopod Bakery in Greater Mavisham has obtained a crate of Tinkerbell Plumrose Flour. Made in 1932 by the Microsoft Corporation (before they turned their attention to computers and evil), the antique flour has traces of black forest ham in the nose, with a swilling of aromatic rosemary on the tongue. When added to pastry, this flour makes sweet pies savoury, but not vice-versa. £210 per furlong.

Steven Denman’s Topical Yeast has nanobot-sized time capsules added to it. While not affecting the taste in any way, eating anything containing this yeast has the effect of causing feelings of nostalgia when it is pooed out. Two and ha’penny a bag, from Waitrose.

Fresh from South America, Columbian Sniffing Flour is available from a man who hangs around the end of my street. Adding this flour (in small quantities, mind!) to any food creates feelings of intense confidence and swirly glee. Thirty quid a bag.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Book Review - From Arthur to Betty II: Tables of the Royals

Erwin Q. Blatt, author of such popular history books as The Communist Revolution from the Point of View of a Nomadic Herder in Mongolia and Node of Honour: A History of Lymph, has written a new book about the British monarchy and their infatuation with tables.

Entitled From Arthur to Betty II: Tables of the Royals, the book covers the famous and the little-known dining-room furniture of English royals. Blatt's research is astounding; very little seems to have been left out in this thrilling survey.

The book begins with the most famous table that British royalty has to offer, King Arthur's round table. While many people believe the reason for the shape was to prevent anyone from being 'head of the table' (and thus seeming more important than the others), Blatt has discovered that the real reason was that Arthur and his knights were all fans of Chinese food, and regularly shared banquets. A round table with a large Lazy Susan was the most efficient way of doing this. Indeed, one of the many instances of magic attributed to Merlin was the creation of the Lazy Susan, something that seemed otherworldly to the Knights' primitive minds.

While the table habits of some Monarchs warrant entire chapters, some require no more than a few paragraphs. Henry VIII was particularly scathing of tables, and is said to have attempted to destroy all serving surfaces in the kingdom; when this was deemed impossible by his advisors he instead started a crippling table tax, rendering table ownership incredibly unattractive to Britain's poor. The section in the book on this is mercifully short.

However, other Kings and Queens have been shown by Blatt to have been instrumental in the advancement of table science. James II, for instance, had an octagonal table in honour of the shape, discovered by British mathematicians during his reign. Queen Victoria was for some time obsessed with tables, and in 1887 ordered the creation of a spectial spherical table in honour of her Golden Jubilee. When the table was unveiled at a special reception in Westminster Abbey, however, all of the guests' soup bowls fell off the impractical table, resulting in several burnt laps. Victoria's love affair with tables ended that day.

Blatt writes with passion on the subject of tables, something that must be due to his own obsession with the furniture (he is rumoured to own at least three tables himself!). While some of his descriptions of the tables themselves occasionally become weighed down with technical jargon, there is no denying his vast knowledge on the subject.

This is the ideal birthday or Christening present for anyone who is interested in tables, royalty or bears (as there is a bear in the ninth chapter).

From Arthur to Betty II: Tables of the Royals by Erwin Q. Blatt; Artichoked to Death Press; pp639; $49.98