9 June 2008

Who yer gonna meet, Bill...Have yer bought the street, Bill?...Laugh! I thought I should've died...Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road...

Ok, let's clear something up right here right now once and for all. It's not called 'Monkey Magic' it's just called 'Monkey', ok? The chorus of the theme song goes "Monkey magic...etc" but the show is just...called...Monkey. Got it? Now we can move on...

I've been thinking about TV a lot recently, mostly how shit it is. As a child, TV was a surrogate parent for me and it nurtured me and suckled me on it's cathode ray teat with a cornucopia of entertainment and stimulation. My fave shows were:
  • Lost in Space (I can still hum BOTH theme songs...yes, there were two)
  • Land of the Giants (kind of a LiS ripoff but still awesome thanks to the hilarious enormous props and that damned fat sweaty Fitzhugh trying to ruin everything...damn you, Fitzhugh!)
  • Project Bluebook (kind of a protozoic X-Files with these two airforce doodz running around investigating UFO sightings)
  • Battlestar Gallactica (the original and best with the cylons who talk like the dood at the start of Boney M's 'Nightflight to Venus' album and the wicked "pew, pew, pew" laser sounds)
  • Buck Rodgers (forget Tweeky with his retarded "dee-be dee-be dee-bee" talk, Erin Gray as Col. Wilma Deering who, along with Linda Carter from Wonder Woman, fuelled the vast bulk of my adolescent masturbatory fantasies...PHWOAR!)
  • Chips (two words: Frank Poncharello)
  • The Fall Guy (I can still sing the theme song: "Well I'm not the kind to kiss and tell/But I've been seen with Farrar..."
  • The Six Million Dollar Man (and to a lesser degree the Bionic Woman, espesh the episode where Lee Majors guest starred when Jamie's bionics went bad and they totally made out at the end...ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch)
  • Doctor Who (two words: Tom Baker).
Despairing of the paucity of passable programs these days, I decided to write my own, which I plan to pitch to the first TV exec who survives the audition process (ie. chloroformed and bundled into the boot of my car). Being a child of the 70's and 80's I've come up with two ideas for sitcoms based in each of those awesome TV eras: first up is the 70's with 'My Favourite Honky' starring me, of course, as a lovable fish out of water poor white guy trying to grow up with a rich black family in Detroit. It's kind of a reverse 'Diff'rent Strokes' and features gratuitous use of my catch phrase - "you jive turkey!" - and the word "honky" (or the "H word"), which I'm trying to de-stigmatize and take back for all my bros. Then we head to the 80's with Raisin' Hell, a light-hearted take on the trials and tribulations of a suburban family trying to raise their young son, Pinhead, the quintessential L'il Hellraiser. Here's a sample of the cracking dialog you can expect every week:

Raisin’ Hell - Pilot episode
by Chris Holmes

Scenario: Set in the home of the Hellraisers, chronicling the day to day lives of an ordinary family bringing up a very extra-ordinary son…Pinhead.

Mr Hellraiser (Dad), works in an office, wears a cardigan, smokes a pipe, likes to read the newspaper;
Mrs Hellraiser (Mum), housewife, wears an apron, bakes a lot;
Pinhead Hellraiser (Son), Cenobyte, precocious young tyke always getting into mischief with his Cenobyte buddies, destined to one day be a Hierophant, a Theologian of the Order of the Gash, a Keeper of the Order of Hell, Dark Prince of Pain, Angel of Suffering, Leviathan's Lord of the Damned, The Black Pope.

1. Int. Hellraiser House. Sunday Afternoon.
Mum: Pinhead Hellraiser! You get in here and clean up your room right now!
Pinhead: Aww, mom! Do I have to?
Mum: Yes you do, young man.
Pinhead: But why?
Mum: Because if you don’t…I’LL TEAR YOUR SOUL APART!
(Cue laughter)

Foxy Amy came over from Chicago with her boyfriend recently for a visit. After her return, she wrote to me asking about the mysterious grey boogers they both suffered whilst here but which cleared up when they left. I was all like, "Did you ride the Tube?" and she was all like, "Heck yes! We rode the heck out of that thing!". As a result, she was afflicted with a gross condition that most Londoner's take for granted: the dreaded "Tube Nose!" Duhn-duhn DUHNNNNN! What happens is, there's all this black dust in the underground tunnels which gets flung up by the trains and you're constantly breathing it in so it encourages the growth of boogers and colours them grey. It's really disgusting and quite alarming the first time it happens but it's remarkable how quickly you become resigned to that kind of thing in this big old 'glass half-empty' city.

I cooked my first batch of recipes for the food mag readers' panel last week, which was a lot of fun. I had four and the recipes themselves were pretty easy but the end results were a mixed bag. The super healthy salmon salad was steamed fish with a couscous salady thing which was Bland City. The roasted squash with spicy chilli was delicious with great contrasting flavours, but the top of the pile was definitely the roasted chicken breast wrapped with spicy chorizo slices and chilli sweet potato wedges. Yummo, stick it up your bummo! In hindsight it wasn't wise to make all three in one go but the original email request from the coordinator got bounced so I only had one day left to meet the deadline. I made the plum kulfis on Sunday night and they were pretty good but not something I'd whip out to impress anyone. It's weird having to be completely objective about what you're cooking. Normally when you prepare food for others you pick something you hope they'll like and desperately want it to be special for them, so even if stuff doesn't turn out or is a bit so-so you're more inclined to big it up a little in your post-meal assessment (kind if a reverse Tetalenche syndrome). But when you're merely reviewing it, taking it for a test run as it were, you tend to be more critical and down-play. I imagine I'll be singing a different tune when I get to cook lobster with truffles but for now I'm happy to play the critic whilst paying my cooking dues.

I went for my first real ride on Sweaty Betty on Saturday, a proper outdoors cross-country affair. I hooked up with Dr Phil "Chuck Slavakia" Well'Ard and his bike, Scarlett, at Euston Station and we took a train to Bletchley, about 45 minutes North West near Milton Keynes. It was awesome fun, a truly great ride. All up we covered close to 40 miles in about 4 hours with a good mix of hills and flats, trails and road, sand and puddles and plenty of mud, even got to ride along a stream at one point and saw the biggest ugliest turkey I've ever seen (no, not Phil...an actual turkey), plenty of stacks which landed me in on my arse in the mud, thoroughly sullying the clean cool lines of my fancy Gore Bikewear which they were letting us try out for free, I looked (and felt) like a Star Trek officer and the padded crotch went someways to protecting my gooch but was no match for the corduroy-like furrowing left by tractor wheels in the dried mud (a section of trail otherwise known as The Gooch Smasher). Sweaty Betty performed brilliantly and was an absolute dream to ride. For the trainspotters, she's a Specialized Rockhopper Pro '08 hardtail (cos that's how I like it: hard and in the tail) with disc brakes and 30 gears of freaky monkey sex bike action. It's a weird feeling to drop down into first gear when ascending a near vertical slope and still be making headway with little or no effort...almost defying gravity. Of course, the gear ratio that low down is, like, 1:1 so it's like riding a unicycle. Every newton of force from your legs is transferred directly to the back wheel thus making the front wheel lift up unless you put all your weight forward, which means zero traction on anything other than tarmac. My only criticism was that because she's so light things get a bit hairy when pelting down a hill at 40 mph on loose shale, suddenly she feels remarkably insubstantial. Then when you hit the huge mud puddle at the bottom the lack of weight sends your tyres in two separate and opposing directions and you end up on your arse in the stinging nettles. I was absolutely dead by the end of it and could barely muster the strength to breathe let alone ride the 5 miles from Euston to Staci's house. I still haven't fully recovered from it as my calves are still aching and no matter how much I eat I'm still constantly hungry. And as for my gooch, let me just say that Dr Phil and I have decided release to release our own line of designer padded crotch bike wear under the label 'Goochi'. I've put some photos up (not of my gooch...eeewww!) and a Google Earth image of the route we took so, as Dr Phil would say, "Czech it out!"

On Sunday Staci and I went to see Aussie composer Michael Nyman play at Cadogen Hall which was really something special. When Staci and I first met I mentioned in passing that I'd love to go see him so she got us awesome tickets four rows from the front right in the centre. Isn't she a gem? The hall was lovely, very classy and tasteful and subdued. The stage was quite small and as it was just the N-Man and his grand piano under a single spot light it felt like we were the only ones in the room with him. I've never been to a piano recital before so I wasn't sure of the protocol on clapping. Apparently you keep schtum for four of five songs until the pianist (tee hee!) stands and takes a bow. Ok, fine, but no one bothered to tell me the signal for when to shout out " Wooo! Prestissimo! Yeah!", let alone for Staci to flash her boobs (which was just as well cos we forgot to bring a texta so how was he going to sign them?). He played loads of songs from his various films and other projects and it was all very moving and lovely and made one feel rather sophisticated as fuck! But for me the highlight was when he played 'The Heart Asks Pleasure First', the theme from 'The Piano' and one of my favourite pieces of music ever. Live music is always a hit and miss affair for me; I find my enjoyment of music is maximised when it's a private and solitary thing. It's hard to feel isolated from the world and alone with your thoughts at the best of times, but particularly so if you're packed in to a room full of sweaty shouting drunk people. But sitting there in the dark with no other sound, enveloped by the music and so close to the person who wrote one of your favourite songs - a song which summons up so many powerful emotions and memories with only a few notes, which squeezes your heart and makes you cry every time you hear it - is a truly sublime experience and one I shall never forget.

Contrast that with next Monday night when I go to see piercing screamy Japanese pop-punk gonzo kooksters Melt Banana at the Uni of London. Hey Paul! Jealous much? Yeah, you are...you totally are!


Phil said...

here are the photos:


Chris... said...

Dood, where's the ones of us going over the sweet jumps?