Monthly Archives: October 2010

Abby Sciuto and her tattoos

Abby at Halloween

As a very special Halloween treat we have more Abby photos to offer. Has anyone else noticed that she (or Pauley, rather) has pierced ears now? I used to think that the tats might be enough for one girl, but there’s always room for more adornment.

Abby with parasol


This year you have searched more than ever for Abby, and with it being Halloween today, the search has intensified dramatically.

Gibbs and Abby

McGee and Abby

I’m still assuming people are looking for ideas for dressing up this evening, and now that CBS appear to have produced Caf-Pow to sell, I’m surprised they aren’t selling fake spider web tattoos. Or maybe they are? It’d be big business this time of year. Any time of year, come to think of it.



Young or old, short or tall, fat or small, we hanker after some Abby-ness. I’ve been reliably informed I’m past it, but that doesn’t stop me from hankering.



And then we have Abby’s accessories from the complete contents of her handbag to her boots, and those appealed even to drugs cartel queen, Paloma.

Contents of Abby's handbag

Abby's boots

In fact, I can’t be the only one to find that shoe shops are full of Abby type boots this year. Many of them look far more comfortable than the ones she wore to Mexico.

(Photos © CBS)

Let who in?

It being an American film and it being a film in English, which is a proper language, Let Me In will be so much better than Let the Right One In. And whereas I didn’t actually mean what I just said, wouldn’t it have been more honest to openly state – somewhere – that this new film they are desperately trying to flog for free this Halloween, is in fact a new version of the Swedish original?

The Guardian emailed me with an offer to see Let Me In for free on Halloween morning, but other than it not being available in my backwater of Manchester, I can think of more fun ways to spend Halloween than sitting through another bloodbath. Fitting, though.

It was only as I read the blurb that I realised this was the improved American version of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s book, and went looking on IMdB to see what they said. They don’t mention the original either, except so much in passing that you won’t notice.

I can’t resist copying the reply to the question ‘The original was so good…why are they remaking this?’

‘According to producer Simon Oakes: “…the story was so great, so beautiful, that it should be seen by a bigger audience. So I was always saying to myself, people in Manhattan have seen it, guys like you [genre journalists/fans] because it’s in your wheelhouse, in New York, in Chicago, in Chelsea, in Notting Hill, in London but no one in Glasgow or Edinburgh or Bristol or Idaho or Pittsburgh has seen this film. It’s a story that needs to be seen by a wider audience. Then it came down to [the question], how do you achieve that? By paying homage to the original.”‘

Homage. That’s always good.

And as I write this Son is physically in Edinburgh, and he came with me to see the film, so in one fell swoop I have proved Simon Oakes wrong. In case he wants to know.

Here’s to people in Pittsburgh and Glasgow who need a better bloodbath!

James MacArthur

No sooner had I read about the new version of Hawaii Five-O and thought that they can’t possibly beat the old one, but I find that James MacArthur who was the real Danno has just died.

Hawaii Five-O

Despite him not having dark enough hair, I was in love with him 40 years ago. As with Ilya Kuryakin in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the supposedly main character of Steve McGarrett was no match for his handsome and much lovelier sidekick.

Finding out that James was the son of my favourite ‘old lady’ Helen Hayes provided the icing on the cake.

Love is fickle, and I can’t say I followed James’s career after Hawaii, but to me he was Hawaii Five-O.

NCIS – Cracked


OK, let’s get the ghastly sight of Tony dressed up out of the way right here and now. I haven’t done a close-up, as it would be too much for the world to take. For a Halloween episode Cracked came a little early for any real creepiness.

Tony as Tony

McGee and Abby


Abby in autopsy

This Abby centred episode seems to have divided fans, with some being disappointed and others loving it. I’m somewhere in the middle, feeling they got it mostly right but not totally. I gather it was a new writer, which might explain things.

There was no humour. Not even Tony as Tony Manero was funny. I could find none of the loving ribbing between the agents. McGee standing there when the bus left was only to be expected. Nothing was made of Abby drinking too many Caf-Pows.

Gibbs was OK, but it’s easier for a man who thrives on serious. Ducky didn’t go on for too long about something totally irrelevant. Palmer didn’t say anything inappropriate. He should.

Unusual to find Abby out and about, travelling by bus and walking round the university she found after hours on the bus. Seeing her in autopsy was just plain sad, and the bereaved mother getting called in to sort Abby out was weird.

OK, so I did like this episode. It just doesn’t sound like it. It’s the lack of humour. I hope it was intentional (though that would be stupid for a series which thrives on the amusing and the ridiculous), and that this writer will find something funny for next time.

But it’s good to concentrate on Abby for Halloween week.

Halloween in Abby's lab

(Photos © CBS)

Death of the Doctor

Sarah Jane Smith and Jo Grant

The Sarah Jane Adventures continue being at least as good as the good Doctor himself, and he’s not dead. Trust his women to know what’s what. This week Sarah Jane was joined by the scatty but otherwise equally genuine former Doctor’s assistant Jo Grant. The trouble with not having a Whovian past myself is that it’s not possible to recognise all these exes.

I could tell from the start that the Doctor’s death wasn’t genuine, but it was a toss-up between Unit having been mistaken or actually being crooked. Sarah Jane followed far too meekly.

Clyde must be having the time of his life, morphing into Matt Smith, and surely sooner or later Rani’s Dad must twig what’s going on? Not sure the plot needed another Luke lookalike, although Santiago (de Chile) was sweet enough, I suppose. Didn’t care for the decolletage.

The real Luke has just started at Oxford, as we all know. That must be why the cherry blossom blossomed in the background. This week’s adventure had plenty of springlike sunshine, whereas last week it was all pretty dismal, weather-wise. Winter, maybe.

And I had this really, really profound thought while watching. I was thinking that the SJA is a children’s series based on the world and the characters of an adult series. Having had this ridiculous thought glide through my head I remembered what I keep going on about when people complain that Doctor Who isn’t up to scratch. It too is a children’s programme.

John Barrowman at the Bridgewater Hall

We got innuendos by the shovelful, and then some. The man never stops talking and barely stopped singing, so you certainly get your money’s worth from John Barrowman. It’s a rare thing to have a three hour concert, and John recognised that some of his fans had buses to catch as he began the end of the show, with several songs to go.

John talked so much he lost his train of thought at one time. Speaking of trains we were lucky enough to have a late one to catch, meaning we didn’t have to leave prematurely. We also had the joy of a points failure on our way in, and it’s no thanks to Northern that we made it in time. Just.

While on the transport theme, Daughter remarked on the number of ‘buses’ parked outside the Artists’ Entrance as we ran past, and wondered why they were all there. I instructed her in the needs of great stars to travel in lots of buses.

That need became more apparent during the concert, when we could see quite how many people John travels with. An ‘orchestra’ of eight and four dancers to begin with. Probably lots more unseen stars backstage, only one of whom was required to come out and be humiliated for our entertainment. Last night he had to yodel, but John boasted that he changes what he asks for every night. So, a dream to work for.

Ostrich feathers. They take up space. An extra singer; in this case Jodie Prenger who was described by John as a female version of himself. Not strictly true, because I’d say Jodie sings better, but John is confident enough to carry that off. (Note to JB – Daughter said she’ll look out for Jodie’s album when it comes.)

Mum and Dad Barrowman. That must be why we all love this boy. How many singers cart the parents round the country while touring? And of those who do, how many put them on stage? There they were, in each other’s arms, dancing in their Sunday best. Or maybe it really was James Bond’s suit? Meeting the parents explains a lot about the boy. Did he have to coach Dad to add to the innuendos, or did that come naturally?

What John needs is a better scriptwriter. Possibly he needs a scriptwriter. Half of what he prattled on about between songs would have been ample. And if it hadn’t been quite so much along the lines of ‘amusing if you were there at the time’ it would have been better still. With Jodie John laughed so much that it was like witnessing dear friends in paroxysms over a not terribly funny anecdote, wishing they’d stop, and putting up with it because you like them.

OK, so innuendos are fine, if a little predictable, but being a bore isn’t.

But other than that, it was a good concert. Not being a great fan, there were rather a lot of songs I didn’t know, and as we all know, I like things better when I do know them. Good airing of The Doctor and I, with well chosen film clips from Doctor Who. And you can’t go wrong ending with I Am What I Am, especially when wearing a really sparkly suit.

After which we all hobbled home, since – as I found at John’s first concert – a Barrowman audience tends to be, well, mature. This maturity didn’t prevent them from dancing in the aisles or whooping continuously, however.

McFly, Mr Vet and Jethro

We now have our very own Jethro. He’s a dog, and he’s been named to match Abby’s alsatian. The one who attacked McGee, and was renamed in honour of Gibbs. Though I have to admit that ours is more Ikea toy than flesh and blood. But anyway, he’s here now. The Resident IT Consultant surprised me by going to buy him and especially by getting the right dog. Who’d have thought it?

Jethro arrived with a couple of unfortunate labels stuck to his rear end bearing descriptions of how he wants to be washed and what he’s made of. Honestly. Daughter had to perform an operation almost immediately.

But as the successful shopper pointed out; the vet was coming the very same day. And it’s true. Mr Vet had announced his intention to call in with Miss Vet, who had a hankering to see – and hear – McFly.

It’s not often Swedish vets make house-calls in Manchester, and especially not travelling via Paris. That’s just one metropolis too many. But it wasn’t only Jethro’s new mistress who had a birthday, but Miss Vet did too, and her birthday present was to be transported from her Paris school to the Manchester Apollo. And all for a McFly concert. (Bit small for a vet, coming to see a fly? Even a for a small pet vet. Hey, that rhymed!)

It was only three months since Miss Vet was last on these shores for a McFly concert. But a dedicated fan is a dedicated fan. So it was a 36-hour whirlwind of travelling (attempting to do so passport-less, even) taking in a meet-and-greet for a select 700 best fans, the actual concert, which Mr Vet attended wearing earplugs, and a Sunday morning chase across Manchester city centre to the McFly hotel for a photo opportunity.

It was downhill all the way after that, with a bus ride to our humble abode for soup and birthday cake.

But I believe both McFly and Jethro are OK. Vet or no vet.

Being late

When are you late? Late as in The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, I mean.

I was reading the film guide for the week in the Guardian this morning and was struck, yet again, of how Heath Ledger always gets the qualification that he’s ‘late’.

When do you stop being late? I noted in the same guide that Richard Burton was not described as late. When in reality he’s much more late. Is the writer trying to show off? Most of us know by now. And lots of films have dead actors in them. It can’t be helped.

NT getting closer

Now I may no longer have to consider whether I can face the journey to London to go to the National Theatre. They are setting up some magic so that people can go to Cornerhouse in Manchester and see some of the National’s plays live.

They are starting big, with Hamlet on the 9th of December, with Rory Kinnear as the prince. Then it will be Fela! on 13th January and King Lear on 3rd February. Frankenstein in March and The Cherry Orchard in June complete the season.

I have never seen anything like this, so have no clear idea of whether it works well or not. But with the modern magic available, it makes sense to bring culture to the ‘sticks’. And they may as well practise on Manchester before they do…

A big sister indeed

Big Brothers Big Sisters is an interesting and worthwhile charity, and many of us could do with a big sister or a big brother, despite not necessarily being deprived in other ways. I may be old, but I feel the need of someone like that from time to time. So it goes without saying that for children and young people who don’t have much, it provides a vital service. It’s sort of a part time adoption scheme, if you like.

Pam Dawber supports Big Brothers Big Sisters, and this is her grand entrance at last year’s gala.

I’m amazed at how she manages to smile so radiantly for so long. It’s Pam’s 59th birthday today, but she was a mere 58 when this video clip was taken. I hope she will continue to fundraise for BBBS for many more years.