Monthly Archives: January 2009

A little bit of patriotism

There was no new episode of NCIS last night, but the witch understands why. President Obama took up most people’s television time on Tuesday, and the blogs are full of impressions from this momentous event. Bookwitch mentioned the Obamas’ new house yesterday, and that will have to be enough. We are full of hope.

Family Secret from NCIS series three is an episode we hardly ever watch (a few times, maybe), so the other day we did. It’s one of the more patriotic ones, and we re-discovered some of our favourite bits. Like this one, where the team are squirming because the Director is sitting in Gibbs’ chair. But he knows how to get the message across.

Di Nozzo and Gibbs in Family Secret

We only returned to this episode, because Daughter started wondering when it is that Tony injures his leg. My detective work led us to Family Secret, which we seem to have ignored. Gibbs slapping himself is another reason to watch it.


Mashed potato and You’ve Got Mail

Saturday evening was all about comfort. Comfort food, comfort film. Post-migraine sleep required just the right things to make a witch feel better.

You've Got Mail

I even turned down an offer of having dinner made for me, because I’m so fussy with what I eat at times like these. So, it was vege-bangers and mash, but unfortunately no chocolate cake for anyone.

Strong need for reliably satisfying film meant watching You’ve Got Mail, again. The Resident IT Consultant didn’t like the film last time, but even he seemed to quite enjoy it this time round. It’s strange with Tom Hanks, really. Many of the possible comfort films I could think of are “Tom Hanks films”.

It’s funny how quickly the technology dates in films and books these days. They were on dial-up, and even the unnaturally short time for dialling seemed rather long. Though Daughter fancied having her computer bid her goodbye, but I think that would drive me crazy.

Found I was in two minds about the bookshops this time. The old shop was lovely. It really was. But unrealistically lovely. And in this day and age poor Meg Ryan would be hard put to read all the books she sold, even if they were just children’s books.

Still Fascinating after 26 years

Picture if you can, a long time ago when the witch and her Resident IT Consultant didn’t actually own a television set. We listened to the radio in those dark days, and if we hadn’t, then the witch wouldn’t have known to go to see Fascinating Aïda live on stage.  And that would have been a shame.

Fascinating Aida

Friday night at the Lowry was my third time. Fascinating Aïda are the best. Personally I believe it’s because they are girls. They write the most intelligently funny, sometimes rude, songs. They see life for what it is. They are fresh, in more ways than one. Some of the lyrics are so totally up-to-date that they are about things that have just happened. Some, on the other hand, are so fresh that they happened this week, or possibly even more recently.

They would understand the worries I had about my hair all evening. (Have you any idea of how nerve-racking it can be to go to a show with your hairdresser? I can’t begin to tell you, so I won’t.) My companion must be congratulated for her bravery in coming to a show, which she was erroneously led to believe was for geriatrics only. (FA, you need to change how you describe yourselves.)

When Dillie Keane sits at her piano and sings, I always say to myself that I like her best. Then I always think that Adèle Anderson has a very good voice and I like her best. After which I generally come to the conclusion that FA’s third singer, at present the lovely Liza Pulman, really has the most wonderful voice. Hmm. Could be that I love them all. Tonight I also discovered that tour manager Lara sings the best of all, so I really don’t know.

Fascinating Aida

So, not only do Fascinating Aïda cover what’s-her-name’s prize winning awards acceptance tears this week, but they remember the olden days of spam being eaten, not emailed, they can sing like Germans (almost painful, I imagine), they can do their own versions of traditional Bulgarian songs, there’s the song about the much emailed substance which rhymes with Niagara and there is the concern that the Shetland Isles are becoming too hot. But at least we’ll always have Tesco. It’s a Saviour.

Thank Gordon Brown for messing with FA’s pensions, forcing them out of semi-retirement. I for one would return to the Lowry tonight if I could.

Fascinating Aida

After elbowing aside most of the rest of the audience, I was second to the signing table and carried off my signed CD to join its friends adopted earlier by the witch. We then found ourselves in the middle of Fawlty Towers, with Basil speaking very loudly, as he does, firing Manuel as we eased past. The nice boy from Barcelona grabbed the fire extinguisher and sprayed the diners. Honestly. You just can’t get the staff these days.

And I have never before been driven along the M60 by a Pendolino train driver. He dropped me at the railway station.

The “real” Abby

I love Abby in NCIS. I’d like to be her. And from some cast round table talk I’ve seen, so do the other actresses on the show. The clothes! Even the tattoos! And I’m not a tattoo kind of person.

So I was happy to find a link to Pauley Perrette’s recent appearance on the Craig Ferguson show. (I like him, too. Scottish. Funny.) Pauley has been his guest before, but this time was much better. She is so amazingly like her character that you wonder where one ends and the other begins.

Pauley Perrette and Craig Ferguson

On the CBS website there is a click-on button to see the show, but it’s not available to non-US viewers. So try this place instead.

(Photo © CBS)

Half Moon Investigations

Having almost missed the first episode of Half Moon Investigations, we have to report that it looks pretty good. We caught it by the skin of our teeth with the help of iPlayer, just before episode two was on. And only then because Daughter was googling the moon for her astronomy GCSE, which proves that school is occasionally useful.

Half Moon Investigations

We did know from the Eoin Colfer interview in October that it was happening some time in January, and we gather that Colfer junior had a walk-on part. What I can’t quite understand is why an Irish story has turned into a Scottish one. But never mind.

And if you are not already acquainted with Half Moon, he is a children’s hardboiled detective who’s still at school, and he is good at solving mysteries. Some of the more adult taste humour from the book is missing, but that’s OK. This is for children.

It’s on Mondays on BBC1 at 16.35, and from what I hear not even Eoin Colfer knew it was starting last week. I think the BBC could try harder. But in fairness I have to promise that I will, too.

A new minister, and throwing the tree out

The floor held. Still, or again, or whatever. I always watch in fascination (never join in, for reasons that will become apparent) in these throwing-the -tree-out times, with people dancing, and wondering if the floor is really up to it. Surely one year it will decide it’s had enough of mad Scandinavians all jumping together in early January? Then they will all end up in the basement.

As I’ve been telling Mary Hoffman over on Facebook, Swedes have a week longer for the Christmas decorations to go. The end, near January 13th, will often be celebrated with a party, dancing round the tree, before it’s stripped and thrown out. We have a song and dance for everything, really. And FC calls for the last time, with sweets for the children, and a clementine to be healthy.

Liverpool’s Scandinavian church had both their annual stomping round the tree today, as well as the  welcoming of our new part time minister, based in London. We don’t like this, but it’s not his fault. He sang to us at the end of the service, which was nice. I also gather from the introductory note about himself in the church newsletter, that he is interested in the art of Simone Martini. Unusual, as the only time I’ve come across Signor Martini is as a character in Mary Hoffman’s The Falconer’s Knot. I know he’s not fictional, but it’s an interesting coincidence.

Simone Martini

Who wants to be a Slumdog Millionaire?

Not me. It’s been a while since I last watched a film that had me look away from the screen. Don’t misunderstand me; Slumdog Millionaire is a wonderfully watchable film. But some of you, and that includes Son, may want to look away after the singing. In fact, not many films have had that much of an effect on my pulse, for a while. Perhaps I should make it a habit of watching good films…

It’s a little bit of a shock to find programmes like Millionaire go from country to country, and equally worrying to see who they pick to be Chris Tarrant. But I suppose it’s good to see we have something that crosses borders. Like call centres. Very illuminating scenes from a call centre. Wonder how true it was? I’ll find it harder to be my normal rude self in future.

Slumdog Millionaire

So, Danny Boyle’s new film is about the poor 18-year-old from Mumbai, who can answer all the questions in Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and gets picked up by the police on suspicion of cheating. I’d like to think the police don’t use such methods of torture. In fact, I’d prefer it if they don’t torture at all.

It turns out the reason Jamal knows the answers, has something to do with his life. He has seen so much that’s been bad, but from each thing he has also learnt something. That’s probably true for most of us, except I don’t expect to get questioned on my experiences. 

When I asked the Resident IT Consultant what he thought of the film, he said “Oh, it was OK, I suppose”. I believe that means he really liked it. Daughter and I did. Haste to Cornerhouse, if you happen to be nearby, but don’t blame me if you don’t close your eyes at the right moment. You’ve been warned. Oh, and a certain level of shit tolerance could be useful.