Diary of an old cheeser

Hi there! Like other blogs, this is my chance to wax lyrical (some might say talk utter cr*p) about a) what's happening in my life b) all of my pet obsessions in particular music, tv, movies, books and other generally connected things, quite often of the retro, old and "cheesy" variety. Hence the title of my blog. Feel free to leave a comment if the mood takes you. There's nothing like a good chinwag about one's favourite topics and besides I love to meet new people! Cheers, Simon

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Okay, time for a quick post.

As you all might have guessed, it's HALLOWEEN!! Time to wear a witch's hat! Put a sheet over your head with two holes for eyes! Or don a Freddie Krueger/Michael Myers mask!! Actually the prospect of the latter is kind of horrid. Well, whatever takes your fancy...Actually I'm dreading the sound of my door bell tonight with lots of kids coming to bother me with "Trick or Treat"ing. Nooooo!!

And to celebrate the spooky season, I thought I'd post up some of my Favourite Scary Movies, in no particular order...

1. The Stepford Wives (the original)

Some might call it camp, some might call it kitsch and some may even claim it's not frightening, but it IS (frightening that is - okay so it's camp and kitsch too but that ain't no bad thing...) A female artist and her family move to the seemingly idyllic rural town of Stepford to find that all the wives are behaving very strangely, exhibiting a drone-like devotion to their husbands. Only recent arrivals seem "normal", then after a few months they "change" too. What's going on?

2. Rosemary's Baby
Another great psycho-drama with the elfin-featured Mia Farrow and smarmy John Cassavetes, playing a young couple who move into a New York apartment. She gets preggers but then starts imagining bad stuff about her neighbours, not to mention her husband. Or is she? A brilliant exercise in paranoia that keeps you guessing right up until the end.

3. Scream
I loved this when it came out. Ironic, satirical take on the teenage slasher flick with lots of great in-jokes and references to other movies. Very knowing. Plus Courtney Cox as a bitchy journalist and Neve Campbell as a sympathetic lead. And a particularly scary opening sequence with a cameo from Drew Barrymore getting harassed by a nasty voice on the phone...

4. The Haunting

NOT the tacky 1990s re-make with Catherine Zeta Jones. No, I'm talking about the 1960s original with Julie Harris and Claire Bloom. A group of paranormal investigators spend the night into a supposedly haunted house. If this sounds totally naff and unoriginal, it isn't. The film manages to terrify through the power of suggestion and the unseen e.g. one scene where the two women investigators hear loud banging on their bedroom door and strange voices...

5. Carrie.
Perhaps most "frightening" in terms of the damage someone can do if pushed too far by others. Sissy Spacek plays the lead of the title, a shy, introverted, naive schoolgirl with a religious nut of a mother (great performance from Piper Laurie) whose backward values are imposed upon her daughter. Then some of the bitchier girls in Carrie's class decide to play a cruel prank. The scene when Carrie and her partner at the Prom walk up to the stage in slow-motion, whilst the trap is sprung, is a truly nail-biting piece of suspense and brilliantly directed. And the violence that follows is completely horrid!

6. The Others.
Once you've seen this it's kind of pointless seeing it again, owing to the big twist at the end. But it's still a well-played, impeccable drama, again playing on the viewer's mind to clever effect. An icily prim Nicole Kidman plays Grace, mother of two children who suffer from extreme photo sensitivity, which means they must remain inside darkened rooms in their house, cut off from exposure to daylight. Then as the movie continues, it seems that the house is occupied by unseen and possibly natural "intruders". One of the children, Anne, says that she's being visited by a child called Victor...And what's with the servants?

7. Dressed to Kill
Very Hitchcockian and very bloodthirsty. Angie Dickinson plays a bored housewife who takes her knickers of in a taxi with a complete stranger, goes back to his hotel for a shag and then promptly gets knifed in a lift by a "female" in a flasher mac. Like you do. However tart with a heart Nancy Allen has witnessed the crime and is on the case...Also includes Michael Caine as a psychiatrist. There's some great suspense bits when the killer is on the loose.

8. Halloween.
Naturally. Subsequent sequels got silly but this is how it should be done - and set the precedent for a million other stalk-and-slash movies. Jamie Lee Curtis is endearing as the young girl who gets followed a by a sinister masked guy who is none other than...her brother! Great use of suspense, tracking camera shots and who can forget that eerie piano score?

I actually wanted to list 10 films but my brain has kind of dried up...Anyway, Happy Halloween to y'all. And having just tagged a lot of people on the last post, I will spare you all this time round, however I would still love to know what your favourite horror flicks are, should you be so inclined to reply...

(Oh and if you want to see an example of a very good spookily-styled blog, try Mr Newplanet! Although I suspect after today, he will turn into a pumpkin...)

Monday, October 29, 2007


Happy Monday.

Okay, here I go, here I go, here I go AGAIN!

I swear I've already done a post just like this. Anyway, I've been tagged by the Fabulous Minge (who, incidentally, has just announced his retirement from the blogging world. Say it isn't SO, Roy!! Or is he just fibbing? Always possible from a man who used to do a regular post called "Fib Sunday". And the last time he stated that he was packing it all in was 1 April...) Anyway....

Here are the rules:

Firstly, post these rules and a link to the person who tagged you.

Secondly, share seven facts about yourself, all devastatingly interesting.

Lastly, tag seven people at the end of your post, linking their names to their blogs. Follow this up by advising said parties of the tag in the comment section on their blog(s).

Seven things about Old Cheeser, then (God I'm really going to have to rack my brains to think of something...):

I am a Postgraduate twice over. I possess a Master of Arts in English Literature and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Secondary level - English). (I'm sure I mentioned this one before - and after all interesting facts about you don't change, do they?!)

I have lived in London since January 1999 where I came to work as secondary teacher. After approximately a year and a half, I packed it in as it was very stressful and I hated disciplining teenagers.

I met my husband when he was living upstairs from me in a block of flats in North-West London. My housemates and I held a party in the Summer of August 2004 and I, erm, seized this opportunity to get better acquainted with my Brasiliero neighbour. No lie!

I have never ever been to the USA. In particular, I really want to visit New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. At 38 I feel that time is running out.

I have a small scar on my forehead (only really noticeable when close up). I got this when I was about 3 years old and tripped on the step of a bus, then fell and split my head open. My Mum told me that the bus driver gave me some jelly babies but I have absolutely no recollection of what happened. As for knocking some sense into me, I think the accident has probably had the opposite effect, on a life-long basis.

I prefer boxer-briefs to boxer shorts. The former hold it all in, whilst the latter let it all hang out. I therefore often wear the former, and never the latter.

I used to have a massive crush on River Phoenix. A talented actor, beautiful looking guy and a waste of life to have died so early.

And now I'm tagging Dan, Paul, Deemer, Steve, Amanda, Tim and Matty.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Vids for the weekend...it's here again...

Hey my lovelies!

Once again it's Friday. Seems to have come round quickly this time, thank the Lord. Me and Gu are settling more into our new abode and have finally cleared away some of the mess. Furniture has been ordered and is now on the way (hooray! It rhymes) which is all very exciting. Not very impressed with Homebase though, who have just told me that it could take up to 35 days (?!!) to deliver our new wardrobes. Say whaaaaat?? Shame I can't get the Dr to zap forward in time to the delivery date and then bring them back to me NOW, via TARDIS.

And talking of the TARDIS I have just re-read this seemingly far-fetched story. Erm, comments, anyone?

Incidentally I haven't got an internet connection at home at the mo - we're getting a phone line put in soon though - hence a bit of a lack of posts from moi (I can only really post at work, and sadly my job doesn't allow me to blog all day - strange, that). But bear with me, I will be back on a more full time basis soooon.

Meanwhile, from the world of videos, here' s this week's choice offerings from the CLASSIC CHEESER VAULT:

You'd be forgiven for thinking that I've been a bit Kate Bush-obsessed of late. Here's one of her offerings from 1986, "Experiment IV" a clever little thing, and almost like a mini-movie. All about sound being turned into a destructive weapon and even assuming a kind of human form! There's strong overtones of horror in this video - the theme and realisation are actually pretty disturbing - but it's very nicely directed and shot, with a real filmic quality and a great guest cast carrying the story - comedienne Dawn French (looking a bit dodgy in a peroxide wig - or is that her genuine riah?); Hugh Laurie (looking handsome); Peter Vaughan (always menacing and a great baddie) and Richard Vernon (cuddly old professor type and the original Slartibartfast from "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy). Great twist at the end too. Watch on.

Altogether now, "Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone..." A double entendre which caused much hilarity in the playground, as I remember when this song came out (anyone know what I'm harping on about?) This is a cover version of the Lesley Gore classic, "It's My Party" by duo Dave Stewart (not the Eurythmics one) and Barbara Gaskin and hails from 1981 (it went to Number One in the UK). I actually think it's much better than the original version - a very unique and unusual interpretation that puts a whole new spin on the song. I love the slow brooding tempo, which abruptly becomes fast and upbeat at the end (but it's all ironic, I reckon...)

And the video? Soooo 1980s! Erm - what's the meaning of the masked swordsmen fighting? (Oh, it's symbolic isn't it? Though of WHAT I'm not quite sure). Why on earth is Dave Stewart wearing what looks like an upturned cycle helmet? (He looks like Jason from the Friday the 13th movies actually). Why are the party goers talking to shop dummies? (Oh it's an ironic commentary on human nature isn't it? Like, we're all plastic people and party conversation is false and artificial...Wow! Aren't I clever!) Why does "Johnny" look like a nerdy geek? (Can't quite see why Ms Gaskin is getting her knickers in a knot about him, quite frankly, makes Bamber Gasgoine look like a stud by comparison which is saying remarkably little). Why does "Judy"'s hair look like a bad wig? (Has a cat died on her head?) All in all, it's a ponderous affair! But a great relic of it's time!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Baker´s Dozen (well, almost)

Actually I lied, boys and girls. That's NOT completely all. Here's one I prepared earlier...

You know, I haven´t written much about the carnival of classic Dr Who stories which have been released on DVD. Thanks to the sterling efforts of The Doctor Who Restoration Team, we´re getting more and more DW serials released on DVD each year, which is wonderful to behold. The carnival is turning into a veritable avalanche.

2007 in particular has surely been a goldmine for Tom Baker fans. By the end of 2007 the following TB stories will all have been released on DVD, in the following (not story) order: "The Keeper of Traken", "Logopolis", "Robot", "The Ribos Operation", "The Pirate Planet", "The Stones of Blood", "The Androids of Tara", "The Power of Kroll", "The Armageddon Factor", "Planet of Evil" and "Destiny of the Daleks"! (Not to mention a re-release of "Genesis of the Daleks" as part of a forthcoming Davros boxset). It´s a bloody Tom Baker DVD fest! A Baker´s Dozen, if you count the "Genesis" re-release.

By contrast William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee fans must feel rather bit hard done by this year, with only one Pertwee release, "The Time Warrior", and absolutely zilch from Hartnell and Troughton! However 2008 is already looking promising with both "The Silurians" and "The Sea Devils" coming out (along with the somewhat sh*t Peter Davison story "Warriors of the Deep") in a Silurians/Sea Devils boxset. "The Sea Devils" is one of my all time fave Pertwee stories. Highlights include those famous monsters of le mer with their bulgy eyes and string vests emerging from the sea, Jon Pertwee at his strident best, Jo Grant in a flared white trouser-suit and a star turn from Roger Delegado, the definitive Master who knocks John Simm's recently superficial, campy performance into a black hole. Can't wait for that one. Boxsets ahoy!

Anyway, getting back to Tom Baker, as he's my favourite Doc, I felt like posting some random musings on those Fourth Doctor stories which have, or are about to be, unveiled on DVD this year...

The Keeper of Traken / Logopolis

Released as part of the "New Beginnings" boxset, you know. (And WHY do I keep thinking of the Bucks Fizz track with virtually the same name?) I've already posted my (expansive!) thoughts on these two TB stories,
here! And as DW stories go, "Logopolis is" one of my all-time fave raves and a fabulous ending to the Baker reign. I was so glad it finally got the release it deserved on DVD having previously owned a (rapidly deteriorating) VHS copy.


From Baker's swansong to Baker's debut! And my, doesn't he look SO much younger in this one! Die-hard fans are not ultra-keen on this story. It's a fairly pedestrian tale with a UNIT backdrop but this was all deliberate - introducing an unfamiliar Doctor in a familiar setting kind of helped to cushion the blow.

The story still has a fair amount going for it. There's a great villain in Miss Winters, the head of Think Tank and all round bitch with a lovely pudding bowl hairdo. Still at least she isn't quite as sartorially or follically challenged as Professor Kettlewell (the inventor of the robot of the story title) who looks like someone presenting Open University circa 1974. And he probably did.

Ian Marter also makes his debut as the dashing Dr Harry Sullivan, a bit of a stereotypical English hero but likeable all the same.

The giant robot itself is quite an impressive creation - big and metallic with a booming voice. The idea of the robot being used by the twisted scientists to do their dirty work and kill people - so conflicting with its prime directive - is an interesting one, as is its (almost human) characterisation and the relationship it forms with Sarah Jane Smith. There are "King Kong" resonances too when the robot mutates to giant proportions and holds poor old Sarah captive. This however is where the special effects go t*ts up - cue hilariously bad 1970s CSO with a fuzzy robot clutching a Sarah Jane ragdoll.

The biggest reason to watch is of course the debut of Tom Baker, who makes an immediate impact with his eccentric ways, staring eyes, toothy grin and wonderfully fruity voice. As I said, he looks positively youthful in this story (compare to the worn-out, cynical Doctor of Logopolis - light years off!) and has an energy and enthusiasm that cannot help but engage. Seven years later it's all kind of drained away!

Anyway an enjoyable tale with enough to recommend and I'm glad it's now out on DVD.

The Key To Time Season (Season Sixteen)

From "The Ribos Operation" through to "The Armageddon Factor", this is a six story boxset bonanza! It actually came out in the US a few years ago, but finally gets a proper UK release with loads of brilliant extras.

I have fond memories of this season from when I grew up:

The White Guardian looking very refined in his suit under the tree.

The Dr's new assistant Romana rubbing the Doc up the wrong way right from the start.

A c-c-c-craaaazy pirate captain and his robotic parrot.

The evil Queen Zania going all negative as people try to shoot her.

Moving stones sucking the life blood out of unsuspecting campers.

Romana in an ecky-thump cloth cap and slingback heels falling off a cliff, with a crap filmed backdrop.

A wonderfully eccentric Earth professor teaming up with the Dr.

The nasty Vivienne Fay being turned into stone (serves you right, madam).

Two Romanas for the price of one in an aristrocratic, swash-buckling setting.

A pre-"To The Manor Born" Peter Jeffrey doing his best moustache-twirling villain bit (actually he's a bit better than that).

The Black Guardian freaking out when the Dr denies him the Key to Time.

And K9 is also showcased to the max during this season, shooting down the pirate captain's parrot and stopping those nasty blood-sucking stones in their tracks! Go K9! And did you know that 2007 is the metal mutt's 20th anniversary? (1977 saw his debut in the Baker tale "The Invisible Enemy"). If you wanna know why I love K9 so much, try here.

There's a downside to this season too. If pushed I admit that the Philip Hinchcliffe-produced era of TB comes off better than the Graham Williams period. Mr Williams had a rather "slapdash" approach to producing and a more notably "kiddy" element snuck in during his tenure on the programme. Tom Baker had also settled into his role very comfortably by this time and had become pretty arrogant and difficult to work with - and this comes out sometimes in his performance; it's like he's on auto-pilot or thinks he's too good to fully exert himself. I'm probably being a bit unfair - it also didn't help that daft old bat Mary Whitehouse had complained about the show, so leading to a toning down of the "adult" element - less violence and horror for instance - boooo!! You boring old cow!! And whilst entertaining enough, I certainly wouldn't rank any of the stories in this season with the likes of "Genesis of the Daleks", "The Deadly Assassin" or "Talons of Weng-Chiang", for instance.

The first four stories of the "Key" season probably fare best, whereas the last two are undoubtedly the worst :

"Power of Kroll" is pretty mediocre (green-painted swampies running away from giant CSO squid) .

Whilst "The Armageddon Factor" is a hilariously cheap, tacky finale (John Woodvine hamming it up and getting stuck in a time warp, The Shadow's naff mask, a cockney Time Lord, horrible shoddy sets...once again it's all too apparent the Beeb have exhausted the budget). But overall there is lots of fun to be had watching the Key to Time season.

Old Tom does slip into pantomime theatrics at times, especially his (literally) eye-ball rolling performance at the end of "Armageddon" when he contemplates how the Key might corrupt those who gain control of it. However throughout Season Sixteen he enjoys a great rapport with newcomer Mary Tamm as the icily aloof Romana and this is one of the series' strengths. Sample dialogue:

The Dr: ...One more thing. Your name.

Romana: What about my name?

The Doctor: It's too long. By the time I've called out, "Look out..." What's your name?

Romana:[slowly] Romanadvoratrelundar.

The Doctor: By the time I've called that out, you could be dead. I'll call you "Romana".

Romana: I don't like "Romana".

The Doctor: It's either "Romana" or "Fred".

Romana: All right, call me "Fred".

The Doctor: Good. Come on, Romana.

He he...

Planet of Evil

Not one of my favourites of the Baker era, though still a good example of producer Philip Hinchcliffe's "gothic" style, including a very creepy invisible monster and a convincing-looking jungle set:

And I distinctly remember the bit when Professor Sorenson is taken over by the anti-matter and his eyes start to glow in a weird way with this horrid crackling sound - it scared the sh*t out of me as a kid. (Probably the scariest Dr Who moment for me though is from "The Android Invasion" when Sarah-Jane turns out to be an android facsimile, and pulls a gun on the Dr after which her "face" falls off to reveal a load of wires and circuitry underneath. Ugggh! Again this terrified me as a kiddie and I even got my Uncle to draw me a picture of it! Perhaps I liked it more than I thought, then).

Erm, didn't have much to say on that one, did I? Says it all...

Destiny of the Daleks

This is the one in which Davros came back and everyone wishes he hadn't, played by David Gooderson, in a pale imitation of Michael Wisher's portrayal. Mind you it can't be blamed entirely on the actor; this was the period when Douglas "Hitch Hiker's Guide" Adams was script-editing the show, hence the jokey approach for most of the season.

We also get the Movellans, the arch-rivals of the Daleks who must have looked very trendy at the time in their beaded fright-wigs and quilted body suits but now resemble rejects from Boney M. This female Movellan is pretty foxy though isn't she?

The story doesn't have anywhere near as much depth or darkness as preceding Dalek tale "Genesis" - the tone shifts about all over the place - but is reasonably watchable. The Daleks look pretty run down though and badly in need of an overall. "Destiny" was not a high point of the show.

On the plus side, "Destiny" sees the debut of Lalla Ward, replacing Mary Tamm in the role of Romana, and she makes an immediate impression as the Dr's intellectual equal, even if her opening regeneration scene is pretty dumb - suggesting that Time Lords can just regenerate if they feel like it rather than out of necessity. Doh!

And whilst on the subject of Ms Romanadvoratrelundar, here's a fascinating story for y'all...Did you know, I met Lalla Ward?

Once upon a time in York, my friends and I all belonged to the DWAS (that's Dr Who Appreciation Society) and used to have regular get-togethers watching badly copied episodes of the old series (in those days nothing was available on VHS and DVD was but a glint in some techno-boffin's eye). We also used to stalk Dr Who actors on a regular basis, or should I say, whenever they appeared in plays at the York Theatre Royal, we used to queue at the stage door for their autograph, or, when we were being particularly daring, beg the theatre staff for the opportunity to actually interview one of these STARS!

Anyway, one day we managed to get through the stage door and ... gasp! ... meet The Honourable Sarah Ward herself! Being nice considerate young men, we went off and bought a box of chocolates prior to the meeting and repeatedly practiced a speech which we were to make to Ms Ward: "We wanted to give you this box of chocolates because we really liked you as Romana and you're such a good actress." We must have said it 100 times and I remember some lady outside the theatre who was putting up posters, overhearing us and laughing. By the time we got through the stage door I was so nervous. Lalla materialised (not via TARDIS but the normal way) in her dressing gown, post-performance. I distinctly remember my friend Derek asking if he could take her picture and her reply: "I don't think it's quite right to have one's picture taken in one's dressing gown." Well laaaa de daaaaa, get you, love! (In view of Ms Ward's response I recall one of my mates later suggesting that we should have said back to her: "Well in that case, perhaps one would look better WITHOUT one's dressing gown"??! Er, perhaps not. Look, we were sexually frustrated adolescents, alright? And yes, at that time I wasn't fully aware that I would have rather seen say, Turlough, without his dressing gown on rather than Romana). But returning to the subject of the aristocratic Time Lady/actress, she did, before leaving, say to us: "Thank you for the chocolates" and signed my copy of "Warrior's Gate". Oh Lalla, you ARE a BRICK!

And after the Silurians/Sea Devil extravaganza, I wonder what's on the DVD release menu for 2008? So my fellow Who fans, what would YOU like to see come out on DVD next year?

Moving on and moving in...

Well. We are now safely ensconced in our new home!! Hoorah!

To be precise the place is a bit of a mess with things still packed away and cardboard boxes strewn everywhere. I don't know where half my stuff is and neither does Gustavo. We don't yet have a proper bed,there's no sofa or tables and only a couple of chairs.

But, WHATEVER!! I am still sooo happy to be a homeowner at long last and that's the main thing (especially after the weeks of rigmarole with solicitors). Or should I say, Gustavo and I are both positively ecstatic to be HOMEOWNERS!!

Any sensible person does of course know that it takes time to settle in and get one's new place ship-shape. And we'll get there!

Anyway in case you're curious (which I'm sure you are) we moved in on the Saturday just gone. I popped into the estate agents early afternoon to pick up the keys and was free to go to my new property! It felt pretty wonderful walking into an empty flat knowing it was all mine, I can tell you. Ahem. Mine AND Gustavo's. There I go again...But you know what I mean. We were also fortunate enough to have the assistance of Gustavo's cousin's friend, who had a mini-bus at his disposal, so we didn't have to hire or pay for a removal van...very fortunate. We started the whole moving process mid-afternoon and had to make three journeys in all, which really wasn't bad atall! The journey time from South West to South East London was only about 30-40 minutes, of course we did get lost a few times on the way. But by 10.30pm we'd moved everything in and still had time to go for a nice celebratory meal and drink in a nearby Thai restaurant. Phewwweeee. All I can say is that I'm so glad we picked a First as opposed to Fifteenth floor flat, what with all the lifting and carrying that went on. And so good to have the assistance of loyal friends, it certainly would have taken longer if it had just been me and my hubbie doing all the moving...

I know some of you have been asking to see pics of the new pad, and they are forthcoming I promise. I'm just aware of what a tip the place is at the moment and want it to look, well, more presentable before I publish photos. What a particular Old Cheeser I am.

As you might have guessed all of the above has been kind of high on my list of priorities at present, but what else has been going on?

The Beeb have announced details re: the forthcoming Children in Need/Dr Who special. Peter Davison will be reprising his role as the Fifth Dr alongside current model David Tennant. So the rumours on PD's return were true! Kind of. It's not a multi-Dr story and it's not going to be part of Season Four. But as you can see from the pics above, PD is undoubtedly back. And this is what he said:

"It is an honour for me to be able to make the connection between the Fifth Doctor and the Tenth Doctor. However, now is not the time for sound-bites. I can feel the hand of history on my shoulder, even if I can't do the buttons up!"

Mmm very self-deprecating, Peter! But he does look a bit portly in the photos, it has to be said. Not to mention older. And with far less hair. Well, it has been, erm, some 23 years since he bowed out of the role! And that was one of my reservations about bringing him back. He looks TOO old! However I do think that PD is a pretty good actor and I'm sure he can slip back into the part with ease (the geeks amongst you will know about all those Big Finish audios PD has done, so it's obviously going to stand him in good stead). Re-watching "Time Flight" and "Arc of Infinity" the last few days (I purchased the recently released DVD boxset) has made me realise PD's consummate ability to rise above the cr*ppest of scripts/material - "Time Sh*te" being a suitable case in point. So I am rather looking forward to his return. And with Steven Moffat as writer, it looks very promising indeed. Tune in on Friday 16th November to see "Time Crash". (Hopefully better than "Time Lash" and "Time Sh*te" then).

"The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle" continues to be not very good. Actually I missed last week's installment but episode two left me with a distinct feeling of underwhelmedness (I don't think that word actually exists) that made me think: "I don't wanna watch you no more!" "The Peter Serafinowicz Show" on the other hand is much funnier and better.

Erm. I seem to have run out of other things to write about. Shucks. Till later then...

One Happy Homeowner xx

Friday, October 19, 2007

Vids for the weekend

Well, it's nearly the weekend...So here's another latest dose of vids to get you all jolly! Cos I know I'm feeling like that!

First up, strictly speaking not a brand-newbie but a fairly-newbie, "Push Up" by The Freestylers. They play this in one of my fave gay bars a lot and it's a deliciously danceable slice of pop. The video is an added bonus. The fellas out there will I think particularly appreciate the dancing lady's antics. The ladies and the gay guys will most likely note her manifold costume changes. I especially like her first "look" - pink top with matching pop socks and heels - think I'll rush out and buy the same! The trackie bottoms and beret look later on is pretty cool too. And what IS the young lady doing to that lamppost? In fact she actually looks like a female friend of mine who shall remain nameless. I didn't know that S--- got up to this whilst doing her shopping! The saucy minx! It puts a whole new erotic spin on Oxford Street I wasn't even aware of. Shopping will never be the same again.

Vid numero 2 is this week's classic from the CHEESER VAULT, "Babooshka" by Kate Bush. Another lady humping an inanimate object, in this case, a cello. Oh dear, Kate must have been a bit man-deprived at this stage in her life. The video is stark and simple but nevertheless very effective. Dressed in funereal black, Kate does some highly individual dance moves (including some rather "gay" hand gestures?) before transforming into a scantily-clad warrior of goddess-like proportions. God, she's soooo raunchy. Sadly I bet Ms Bush didn't dress like that to go round Sainsbury's. And watch what you're doing with that sword love! You'll have someone's eye out!

Key(s) to the door!!

Well. I'm currently sitting here at my computer feeling VERY smug and happy with the world. Very happy INDEED!!

And all because...

Well, can you guess...?

Clue Numero 1: See the title of this post.

Clue Numero 2: Look at the photo above.

Clue Numero 3: Think back to one of the subjects I have recently waxed an awful lot of lyrical about...

And hopefully you'll have your answer.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Vids for the weekend

Okay I'm done with Video of the Fortnight. For one thing, it's too long to wait for just ONE video. From now on I'm gonna be posting EVERY weekend instead. Not just one vid, but a few, to add to the general merriment. Hoorah!

(I had heard that posting too many You Tube videos/videos/internet links wasn't good for the "stability" on one's blog - I'm no techno-boffin so if anyone knows about these things, do tell....oh I am probably just being paranoid...)

Anyway, first up, a few newbies (well new-ish) - and look who's back:

"Two Hearts" is a strong comeback from Ms Minogue. I'm liking the slinky vocals on the verse and there's a distinctly Goldfrapp feel to the whole thing. And she's looking good in the vid. I guess I'm a bit less keen on Rock Kylie than Disco/Dance Kylie though (it's the genre that suits her best I reckon - the collaborations with Manic Street Preachers weren't really up my street) so let's hope there's more of the latter on the forthcoming album.

Oh and thought you'd appreciate the classy "TV AM" intro. But where's Anne Diamond?

This one - "Secret Sunday Lover" by Ali Love is actually a few months old - and he's had another single out since then - but I still love it! Saw it down the gym the other day and it immediately caught my eye. I love the Sci-fi pastiche (naturally) even if the storyline is kind of flaky (if they zapped all of his brain how come he's still functioning?) The song has also got a great 80s sound to it, just my kind of thang...

And from the CLASSIC CHEESER VAULT, this time round its time for a bit of 80s tack:

Yep it's that golden-haired boy/girl pop duo of the 80s, Dollar, with one of their lesser hits "We Walked In Love". Singer David Van Day has the most incredibly girly vocal delivery and is a right poser to boot (tho doesn't look too bad with his shirt off). As for Therese Bazaar, her voice is the aural equivalent of candy floss i.e. sugary, thin and insubstantial. Her "And I REALLY don't know why" bit (trying-to-sound-sultry-but-ending-up-slutty-instead) is totally hilarious. The lovers' hissy fits and so called sexy bits (pulling one another into conveniently filled-up bubble baths) are equally silly. And what's with Therese's switch hair-piece and fringed jacket? Fashion disaster!! Was Therese auditioning to become a member of Echo and the Bunnymen? Well, at least she didn't go the way of David...selling hot dogs and burgers in Brighton....oooh, miaow...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Here is the news

Good evening, this is Moira Stewart reporting with the latest news.

Oh sh*t, I've been sacked. Must dash and find myself another job, pronto. Apparently TV AM are looking for someone to make the tea...perhaps there's an opening for me.

In that case, it's over to Ms Jan Leeming...

Listen darlings, I'm just a neurotic old celeb stuck in the jungle with a pole up my a*se, and I really don't have the inclination for all of this. So do push orf, okaaaay?

My jumper's rather fetching though, isn't it?

ENOUGH! I really don't know what came over me, venting such vitriol like that. I'm in a good mood today, honest...

ANYHOW. What be the news since my protracted absence? What's been going on in the outside world?

As you all might have gathered by now, I never have very much to say about politics or current affairs and rarely write on these topics. Perhaps because I am pretty cr*p at keeping apace of these kind of things and also, ahem, don't find them desperately exciting subjects to write about. Don't get me wrong - I do read the news and watch the TV from time to time in order to keep (reasonably) abreast of what's happening. But I tend to shy away from nastiness and depressing news. Practically every morning in the Metro there's a tale of a young boy who's been stabbed in a park or some couple who've been happily married for 30 odd years suddenly hacking each other to death, which is very off-putting. It's all a bit too much for sensitive old moi. I'm a typical Pisces really, far happier retreating into some safe fantasy world and dreaming my dreams. And I'd far rather write about fun and entertaining things on this blog like music, TV and movies. Oh dear. Is there no hope? Yep I'm probably an escapist at heart and a dreamer but that's me, folks! Besides, no-one has any massive objections, do they?

Altogether now: NO, WE DON'T!! I hope.


In the Real World:

The trial into the death of Diana continues, some 10 years on after the event.

I say: pah!

Royal Mail recently went on strike. The strikes ended today but more are scheduled for the whole of next week!

I say: Double pah!! (Especially when you're trying to buy a flat - more anon).

The search for Madeleine McCann continues after heaven knows how long.

I say: Treble PAH!!!

Incidentally, if you want the regular lowdown on the Diana and Madeleine stuff try Dan's blog. He usually puts up the latest newspaper headline/report from The Daily Express every day. Good on him. At least someone's got their finger on the pulse. Or on something at any rate.

There you go. I DID report on some current goings-on didn't I?

And in the Blogging world:

Timewarden has returned! He's back, back, BACK!! I somehow knew that he wouldn't be away from blogging for long and would soon succumb to the temptation to wax lyrical on further topics. And a bloody good thing too. Welcome back Tim!

Steve aka Bloggertropolis has just given birth to a beautiful, bouncing baby boy! (Wow. DIG the alliteration). Actually that's not strictly accurate. Steve wasn't artificially inseminated or anything. To be more precise, it's his wife Karen who has just popped the sprog. Anyway big CONGRATULATIONS to the both of them; it's brilliant news.

Matty and his partner Byron have moved into a fabulous new flat! In Oakland, San Francisco no less. It's a huge open space that wouldn't look out of place in "Flashdance". I can just see Matty donning a pair of leg-warmers and doing some hard-core moves to "Maniac". Sounds like the move was a bit stressful but so good that he's in his new pad now! (Boy, am I looking forward to my own forthcoming move....not!!)

Newplanet's blog has gone all spooky and scary to celebrate the fact that we're now in the month of Halloween. Check it out - loving the diabolical (in the horror sense that is) design! And plenty of Horror-themed posts. I think he should do one on his Top 10 fave Horror movies and we can all contribute.

Caress continues to write about his/her Top 25 Camp Films of all Time - great topic with, in fact, an unusual range of choices for inclusion in the list - so far anyway. (Although he/she hasn't written a recent post on this - so GET TO IT, Cassie darling!!)

Salty has been speculating about Michael Jackson in "X Factor"! Could it be true? Whoooosebaaaaad? Sha-mol!!

And so forth. Okay, I've left a few of my fellow bloggers off the roll for which I apologise. But it's taking me too long to list everyone...it's nowt personal, honest!

And the Dr Who world?

A story set in Rome was recently filmed! Set in Pompeii, just before Mount Vesuvius is due to erupt. Wooohooo! Sounds exciting. Will the ghost of Kenneth Williams make an appearance? "Oooooh Dr!! Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me..." (Sorry that was LAME).

The Sontarans are coming back in Season Four! With ex-"Young One" Christopher Ryan playing their leader. I wonder if Rik, Vivian and Neil will play his Sontaran troops? (LAME x 2)

Anyway I do hope they look better than they did in "Two Doctors" (above) - I'm sure the costume designers and visual effects team can come up with a good re-working of the old egg-headed foes...They'd bloody better do!!

And then there's been THIS rumour. Mmm. So what do we all think? My initial thought is, how the hell are they going to fit so many characters into (presumably) 2 x 50 minute episodes, and give them all decent airtime - not to say proper character development? It all seems a bit gimmicky...Let's keep in mind the fact that the Beeb haven't confirmed it yet though.

A Silurians/Sea Devils DVD boxset is scheduled for early next year - hoorah!! I love "The Sea Devils" and can't wait to see it again. And as much as I love him, it has kind of been Tom Baker overload with regard to the DVD release schedule this year...

And in the TV/ Comedy world:

The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle started on BBC2 last week, a new comedy vehicle for Jennifer "Ab Fab" Saunders, with Ms S playing a daytime TV presenter and agony aunt, and Miranda Richardson as her manic producer. Suffice to say, it was a little bit disappointing, coming across as more drama than comedy-oriented. I found it more observational than funny, although I guess therein lay some (hidden) humour - the send-up of the daytime show was very accurate and wryly done, and for that reason, I quite liked it. There was also a good gag when the self-obsessed Vivienne, standing under a gigantic picture of herself in her living room, utters: "Oprah? I just don't have that sort of ego". We needed more of this! More crucially, Jennifer S's character was a pretty miserable mare and it was hard to warm to her - the picture of her above must be a fake, I swear she didn't crack a grin in the entire episode. As for Miranda R, she was stark raving bonkers in the wrong kind of way and annoying with it. Her accent flitted about all over the shop and the character was just tooo weird. Oh well, patient person that I am, I'm prepared to give it a couple more weeks before passing final judgement.

Perhaps by way of recompense we got The Peter Serafinowicz show straight after, which I'm pleased to report was much better and funnier. A sketch show in which Mr S played a variety of characters in very well-observed fashion, including some celebs such as Michael Caine and Chris Tarrant. His impersonation of the latter was frighteningly spot-on. Plus lots of surreal humour which is always welcome. He's a very clever and versatile chap.

And in the Music world?
Kylie M is all sent to unleash a new single and album. Yaaaay!! We've been very lucky, lucky, LUCKY! It's been a few years since her last Long Player, Body Language, so a newbie was on the cards. Of course she's had a few rather serious issues to deal with along the way, so we can't exactly begrudge her the break. The forthcoming new single is entitled "Two Hearts". Mmm. I wonder if the fact that Mistress Minogue is starring in the Dr Who Christmas special might have had any bearing on the title? Think about it...

The cover of the single is pretty wicked though. Kind of reminds me of the 1980 version of Flash Gordon, all lurid colours and make-up. Very sci-fi:

And here's the actual cover to the album (nicked from Dan):

Fabulous isn't it?

Of course any other musical "happenings" are totally meaningless and not even worth reporting on.

And finally what news from the world of the Cheeser?

Well, with regards to purchasing our new flat, we are STILL waiting for the solicitors to finish doing their stuff and I am trying to remain as patient as I can. As I said before, the postal strike certainly hasn't helped, what with all the bits of paper that I've had to to sign, being sent backwards and forwards in the mail, now arriving later than they were supposed to. Sometimes I wish I lived in Brazil. Gustavo says that there all you have to do is find a flat, get a bank to lend you the money and it's more or less done and dusted. None of this solicitor malarkey.

Anyway in preparation for the new pad I have already made some purchases of new furniture and flat accoutrements. Hooray! Nothing like advance planning eh? Including this seductive sofa, a vision in cream:

Better watch it with the red wine and vomit then...

And this beautitious bed:

Did you know it's a "Queen" size?

Absolutely no comments, pur-lease.

HOW exciting.

Oh, and one final piece of news, I have now been blogging for MORE THAN ONE YEAR!! So Happy Anniversary to moi.

Ta ta.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Some Brazil facts...

Well, to prove that I have actually learnt something from my time in Brazil and didn't just spend it lying about on beaches, here are some very exciting BRAZIL FACTS for y'all! Yes, the Cheeser does try to be educational...so unless you're already an authority on Brazil I bet there's something new for you to learn. Read and absorb!

The Brazilian currency is the Real. In terms of conversion/worth a Real is (at present) approximately one third less than the British pound i.e. 37 Brazilian cents (like British pence) = 1 British pound. Therefore if you’re a tourist it’s totally wonderful e.g. a beer costs the equivalent of about 40p; you can get a decent pair of shoes for £10-15… shopping paradise! From the p.o.v. of Brazilians though this means that anything outside Brazil is horrendously expensive e.g. an air ticket to the UK.

Brazil is a second world country and has a “developing” economy but there is quite a lot of unemployment. Unlike the UK, people who are jobless get no benefits or supplements from the state i.e. they have absolutely no money to live on. On a similar note one thing that has repeatedly struck me about Brazil when I’ve visited is the stark contrast between people that have money and people that don’t – you can literally see it all around you. One of the most notable examples of this was the children who came up to me on the beach in Rio asking for money! In Rio in particular, there are a lot of crooks and pickpockets around too and Gustavo was continually telling me to be on the lookout – don’t dress expensively or ostentatiously as it can draw attention to you, don’t carry a wallet (I put all my cash in a waist bag thing inside my pants – and as attractive as I am I didn’t get many people coming up to me attempting to touch my crotch – not such a pity after all); don’t leave your iPod on the beach etc. All extra things to think about, but then again better to err on the side of caution! Unlike the UK, the rich and the poor in Brazil tend to coexist side by side. In your average English city you’ll have your “deprived” areas, council estates and “rough” districts like Hackney in London for example, where inhabitants are mainly only poor or working class people and they tend to be confined to one area. In Brazil it’s more mixed up and there's a much sharper distinction between rich and poor.

The most physical manifestation of the extreme poverty in Brazil are the favelas, shanty towns often found on the edge of a city but also on hillsides (as in Rio). You thought some council flats/estates looked depressing? Wait until you see a favela, then you'll really open your eyes. Yes, back home you might live in a bit of a run-down flat or an undesirable part of town, but be grateful that you’ve still got a proper roof over your head, not to mention heating, hot water and electricity. People that live in favelas don’t have all of these things; and a lot have none atall. For instance, on our tourist trip in Rio we were on the bus, on our way to see the statue of the Christ and were travelling through a long tunnel which unusually, had absolutely no lighting. This was because apparently the people from the nearby favelas had stolen the lights for their homes. Desperate times.

There is no major rail network in the country. The only cities which have underground rail systems are Rio and Sao Paulo. Consequently, to get from A-B you either need a car or motorcycle or have to make long bus journeys. Or take an internal plane flight (but these can be expensive and not something you can do all the time). So given the size of Brazil, if you're travelling by road (as most people do) the distance and journey time between cities can be considerable. We made several trips by car whilst I was there, some of which took 7-8 hours. Most grueling of all for me was the bus ride Gustavo and I had to take from Rio to Uberaba, his family’s home town – 12 hours!! It was overnight and I don’t sleep well on public transport anyway so it seemed interminable. So basically if you don’t have your own method of transport, you’re screwed.

Brazil boasts some very funny product names. Did you know that the maker of one brand of bread in Brazil is called "Bimbo"? And there's a washing powder called "Snob"? You do now! Consequently a visit to a supermercado (supermarket) can be very enlightening.

The Gay scene in Brazil is both different and similar to the scene in other parts of the world. Gustavo tells me that the attitude amongst gays in Brazil is quite different. They're not quite as "showy" as in other countries and there is a harder, more macho kind of mind-set amongst some of the men, perhaps because in a Catholic country like Brazil it's harder for homosexuality to be accepted. To some extent gay guys have to "act normal" in order to pass and not attract trouble. Odd in a country that you'd associate with the carnival and being ultra-flamboyant! But in the clubs we visited I did detect a kind of "closedness" about some of the men there and I didn't find all of the people particularly welcoming or friendly either. Rather attitude-y in fact. A defense mechanism maybe? Yet, you still have guys who dress ultra-trendy, have fabulous bodies and six packs and whippety hips wherever you go. (Although they probably go back to sensible top and cord trousers when they go home to Mama). As for the music, from what I heard it tended towards Hard House or techno, which was very limited and unexciting. The English Gay scene for instance seems to have a much wider variety of music on offer and hoorah for that. Something Brazil needs to work on I reckon.

What about food? Brazilians love their meat and fish and consume large amounts. A typical Brazilian meal consists of lots of meat, rice and beans. Being a vegetarian can be problematic; there are not many vege restaurants and no meat substitute products like Quorn over there! One of the most famous Brazilian meat dishes is Feijoada, a stew of pork and beans and I have to say it's pretty delicious. In fact...confession time! Before meeting Gustavo I was only eating chicken and fish and eskewing red meat altogether in the name of health! But also, I admit, because I was too lazy to cook red meat - it can be a hassle sometimes. However the Brazilians do wonderful things with their meat (perhaps I should rephrase that) using herbs, spices, chilies, sauces and a variety of ingredients to really bring their dishes to life - and I am now a happy convert. English cooking is very bland by comparison. I'd also highly recommend the Brazilian hot dog which is sooo much tastier than the English version. I remember eating one when we left the gay club in Santos and it was fabulous - not only a sausage in a bun, but with loads of accompanying condiments like mashed potato, peas, olives, corn and others. Totally delish!

And confectionery? It's always fascinating to see how a country's sweeties compare to your own. Brazilian chocolate is for the most part, gorgeous and definitely tastes different to English – made from real coco beans unlike the so-called chocolate made in this country with re hydrated fats and so forth. You can really taste the difference. I brought back a ton in my suitcase and still haven't finished it. Will I ever lose weight?

Soap operas or as they are known in Brazil, telenovelas, are very popular. Unlike their UK counterparts however, they usually run for a short period - i.e. about 9 months or so - before a brand new one comes along! The Brazilians must have short attention spans mustn't they? Can you imagine them trying to endure Coronation Street or Eastenders for years on end? Whilst I was there, a novela was showing called Paraiso Tropical, set in none other than Copacabana, Rio, and populated by a cast of rich and beautiful characters. I got to see a few episodes and actually quite enjoyed it (in spite of my not being able to understand Portuguese - what the hell!) So it seems that Brazil likes its glitz and glamour too. It also had a hilarious "romantic" theme tune with some crooning guy going on about "Copacabana" with wonderful accompanying aerial shots of Copacabana beach etc (as in the shot above - how strange that we didn't get any shots of favelas though). And tinkly piano interlude bits for the advert breaks. The funny thing is, although I can hardly speak any Portuguese, I could still tell that many of the situations (not to mention the acting) were still pretty melodramatic and OTT with lots of characters snogging, arguing, fainting and doing all the requisite dramatic things that you encounter in soap operas. The language might be different but the situations are pretty much the same, the world over.

Well...hope all of that proved enlightening. Ciao ciao!