June TV

July 5, 2015 at 17:26 (TV) (, , )

The Jinx

I knew I should have watched the final episode before rounding up May. The whole series was wonderful but that last episode was something else, phenomenally good TV.

No Offence

I never managed to get stuck into this, I found that it offered nothing new or anything to keep me interested. It’s a shame because I stuck with and the final episode appeared to be really good, sadly it didn’t mean much to me because I’d long lost interest in the story and characters.

The Goldbergs

E4 bought The Goldbergs and then quickly dumped the first two series as quickly as it could in a less than prime slot. I only watch because I listen to Jeff Garlin’s podcast and he’s particularly good as the father. I’m only about 6 episodes in but so far finding the whole thing really quite charming, it’s hard not to think of The Wonder Years even though both shows are quite different.

1864

More great television from Denmark and further proof that DR1 is up there with HBO for producing high quality dramatic television.

The Affair

Two British actors leading an American show and picking up lots of award nominations last year in the States. I didn’t know the split perspective was coming and initially it’s quite striking but later on it doesn’t work quite as well and often raises more questions about how things are structured. Things unravel in an engaging way and it’s surprising that this far in we don’t even know what it is that’s getting investigated.

Jane The Virgin

Fairly low expectations and something I wondered if I really had the time to commit to, my doubts appeared to be correct for most of the first episode but by the end it had won me over. High quality trashy soap which I mean as a compliment.

The Game

More solid high quality drama from the BBC.

Agents Of SHIELD

SHIELD is up and down but got good again by the end of season 2.

 

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Glastonbury 2015

June 30, 2015 at 15:14 (Festivals, Music) (, )

Img_2276 For what was arguably the worst Glastonbury lineup for quite some time, it turned out there were many personal highlights (in bold below). Italics indicate acts where I didn’t see the whole set due to boredom (Kanye West) or getting food and listening (Jamie XX). I think this is the first year when I didn’t see a headline act, on all three days, nothing on Sunday and only brief moments from two on Saturday. I had hoped to see Chemical Brothers headline on Sunday but it was far too crowded half an hour before they were due on stage so I bailed but Idlewilde made up for it. Wolf Alice were the only other act I really wanted to see but didn’t make it (lazily due to rain and been on the other side of the site) but there’s probably a whole lot more to discover on iPlayer.

Wednesday

  • Film: Kingsman

Thursday

  • FIlm: The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson – introduction Q&A with Wilko Johnson and Julien Temple
  • New York Brass Band marriage proposal at The Park (maybe)
  • Film: Kurt Cobain Montage Of Heck

Friday

  • The Charlatans
  • Manaia
  • Matthew and Me
  • Everything Everything
  • Hooton Tennis Club
  • Jungle
  • Kevin Eldon
  • Caribou
  • Jamie XX
  • Super Furry Animals

Saturday

  • The Unthanks With Charles Hazlewood & His Orchestra
  • Courtney Barnett
  • The Strypes
  • Stephen Frost’s Improv All Stars with special guests Phil Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke
  • Burt Bacharach
  • Idris Elba (DJ)
  • Father John Misty
  • La Roux
  • Kanye West
  • The Mothership Returns: George Clinton, Parliament, Funkadelic & the Family Stone
  • Alistair Barrie
  • Tony Law

Sunday

  • Marcus Brigstocke’s Policy Unit
  • Hozier – I only saw 1 or 2 songs and wasn’t impresses so left for…
  • Cassetteboy and DJ Rubbish
  • Patti Smith (and the Dalai Lama)
  • Lionel Richie
  • Belle and Sebastian
  • Idlewilde

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May TV

June 8, 2015 at 17:08 (TV)

Mad Men

I wasn’t sure if the final episode was going to be necessary after nearly everything felt nicely wrapped up. The ambiguity of the closing scenes is really quite magnificent.

The Jinx

Fascinating and terrifying stuff even if it’s sometimes difficult to take seriously because of The Daily Show style setup of the interviews.

No Offence

Not bad but quite disappointing considering who’s behind it. The choice of Breaking Bad style music and colours does it absolutely no favours.

Nurse Jackie

As is often the case something getting removed from Netflix is the incentive I need to finally catch up before it disappears. I stopped watching Nurse Jackie when the BBC stopped showing (apparently the end of season 2) but I didn’t feel like I’d been away. Now I just need to find where I can watch the rest of the series.

Episodes

An unnecessary long wait to watch the latest series in the UK but worth it in the end.

W1A

During the first double episode it did start to feel like W1A had become a W1A spoof but fortunately it settled down in subsequent episodes.

Gotham

I don’t have a lot to say about Gotham but I have enjoyed it and hope it continues.

Peter Kay’s Car Share

Surprisingly sweet.

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Alien Isolation

May 31, 2015 at 22:38 (360, Games)

I’ve been meaning to write something about Alien Isolation for the last few months when I finished playing it. Putting aside Nintendo I think it was the only game released in 2014 that I had any interest in but when it came out it didn’t feel like the reviews were that good and I was busy at Leeds International Film Festival. I finally started playing it earlier this year and I mostly enjoyed it. The Xbox 360 version is full of many bugs, most notably a display issue that meant part of background for on screen text was persistently displayed on screen which did ruin the atmosphere. The game often crashed on the loading screen and there were many graphical glitches.

The game is at it’s best when your alone in an area with the alien. Unfortunately the gaps between such scenarios seem to grow further and further apart. Worse than that there are annoying humans and more annoying androids that just get in the way and just make this like most other games. The developers perfected the “Alien” part of the title but failed on the “Isolation” part.

Like most games it’s also too long. Things are dragged out along long corridors far too often and those humanoid encounters are just a pain. Save points are often before a long boring corridor with an opportunity to die at the end, this kind of crap shouldn’t be happening in games, especially ones where death by alien is down to chance (or sophisticated Xenomorphic AI programming). Still I put up with all the problems to see the story through the end. If the story had been shorted I’d have been tempted to spend more time with the challenge part of the game but this option has remained untouched.

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Belle and Sebastian

May 19, 2015 at 20:00 (Gigs, Music)

Leeds Town Hall

Belle and Sebastian

with support from Lower Dens

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Richard Herring – Lord Of The Dance Settee

May 9, 2015 at 20:00 (Comedy)

City Varieties, Leeds

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April TV

May 3, 2015 at 08:05 (TV) (, )

Mad Men

I’m glad I could go straight into the second part of the final series, I imagine it must have been a long wait as week to week currently feels like a drag. Can’t wait to see how everything ends.

Banished

I’ve mentioned Banished every month and the ending did not disappoint and a second series would be welcomed. Definitely one of the year’s highlights.

Cucumber

The final episode felt unnecessary and has messed up a second series, would’ve preferred things to have ended at the party in the previous episode.

House Of Cards

i raced through the third series and loved it, I’m hoping most of it was just a set up to really tell Claire’s story in series 4 but even by the level of preposterous events so far that may be taking things too far.

Critical

I tried Critical (for four episodes?) but gave up, I’d have stuck with it for 6 hours but couldn’t face 13 when nothing had happened. Focussing on the procedure rather than the characters was a novel idea but it just couldn’t keep me interested.

Inside Number 9

Just as good as the first series.

Lip Sync Battle

I really shouldn’t like this but think it is brilliant despite the poor presenting by LL Cool J and the completey  unnecessary presence of Chrissy Teigen. So far I think it’s been down to the guests and the fact they are already friends, so it’ll be interesting to see how long it can keep going.

The Good Wife

Still the best show on TV and completely unexplainable why it’s taking me so long to get through.

Newzoids

Good idea, hopefully will get better as the writers and performers find their feet.

I Survived A Zombie Apocalypse

Another good idea, I’m surprised nobody has tried to make a live video game before. Like most video games it quickly got repetitive and could’ve done with being a lot shorter.

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March TV

April 7, 2015 at 12:10 (TV)

March felt like a month of catching up but also an introduction to the wonderful world of Better Call Saul.

Better Call Saul

At times I thought I might end up liking this more than Breaking Bad. There is just something wonderful about the character Jimmy McGill whether that’s his past as Slippin’ Jimmy or future as Saul Goodman there’s an eternal optimism trying to fight through the everyday sadness that just gets me every time. The series goes from good to great once we get Mike’s flashback and the later episodes in the series excel.

Cucumber & Banana

I haven’t finished with these yet and have just reached episode 6 which is the one everyone started talking about but both series were great from the start. Unfortunately once I knew the vague details of the shock in Cucumber I knew how it would arrive. Brilliant writing and performances not to mention the way the two shows compliment each other make this another highlight of the televisual year.

Banished

Another big period drama from the BBC and this is a lot more engaging than Poldark or C4’s Indian Summers both of which I’ve cooled down on after promising starts.

Mad Men

I finally caught up with the first part of the final series before the new episodes start this week and continued to love it. It’s amazing to think how much time has passed in the series and how much all of the characters have changed over the years. The ending was just brilliant, I bet there are people out there who didn’t like it.

Continuing (still watching, or watched, and enjoying)

The Walking Dead, The Good Wife, House Of Fools, Uncle, Last Week Tonight, The Daily Show, Togetherness

Continuing (but don’t know why)

Fortitude – I’m convinced there’s a good 6 hour series somewhere in here but over 10+ hours it’s largely boring and trying to be at least two different shows.

 

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The Carnabys

March 25, 2015 at 13:30 (Gigs, Music)

Coffee House Sessions, Bradford Student Union.

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Hamlet

March 23, 2015 at 19:30 (Film, Theatre)

‘Maxine Peake As Hamlet’ filmed at Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester for cinema screening at Hyde Park Picture House

So it turns out that like most things Shakespeare is much better in a northern accent. It’s also interesting that theatre and Shakespeare in particular is the only place where equality truly exists and there is no discrimination between race and gender.

My dislike of lengthy stories extends to Shakespeare with too many unnecessary (or misunderstood) scenes adding length and making it harder work to get through. Another problem is that Maxine Peake is so brilliant that every time she’s not on screen everything else feels so ordinary. Everybody else puts in a good performance but it was only Gillian Bevan as Polonia who stood alongside Peake as great.

 

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