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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Bonkers, by Jennifer Saunders

This autobiography of Jennifer Saunders is simply perfect. It is as lighthearted as it is serious, doesn’t bore for one bleedin’ second (I’ve read biographies that couldn’t live up to that one), it’s a delight to read.

Jennifer sets out how herself and Dawn French became aquantainted, befriended and then crawled up the path to fame. As far as I’ve understood, being a daughter of an RAFman greatly helps 🙂 also, not being very good at interviews at universities for other, more serious studies, leads to this. Well, for Jennifer.

What amazes me in the book is how impeccable Ms Saunders is with her timing. She knows, just from the other end of the book -the writing part-, how people will react on her written statements. It is as if Edina Monsoon is personally following you through the reading, is shouting at you with it! You can just hear it. Feel quite intimidated. And still can’t help laughing.

Though Ms Saunders tells you at the very beginning that she’s horrible with chronological orders, of course the editor of the book took care of that. So it does seem like she’s in control after all. She does start every chapter by telling you in what scene you have landed. Very friendly so 🙂

Jennifer makes it sound like she has had a very easy life in a way, but at the end you have to conclude that the woman is so very talented. She gets away with everything, because, well…SHE IS JENNIFER SAUNDERS, HELLO!!

Her words somehow got to me even more as I recognised her feelings towards people she admires or tv show hosts and such. She closes up like an oyster. Can’t speak. Can barely move. Just instantly. Very nice if someone ace just happens to sit next to you and is being nice to you. The shame you feel afterwards when that happens! I mean I’m not famous so it never happens to me personally, but I have some (more or less) famous people in my family, so it does happen at birthday bashes and such, that an oocasional famous human enters the livingroom and I’m like: ‘wow, that’s !!’ and I will just be so insanely stupid. Not able to talk, like a normal person, instead sweat and either say nothing or appear far too enthusiastically and break something.

Anyway, back to the book.

Jennifer Saunders has a lovely, sincere and spontaneous way of writing. She tells a lot, namedrops (as she has been told to do so, she mentions at the very beginning) and quite frankly, makes it even more easily to love her as you already did (or at least I did).

She also mentions her fight with breast cancer, and as the wife of a Radiation Expert, I do feel the need to add a few things here. Not because Ms Saunders doesn’t mention them incorrect, it’s just an FYI, nothing special.
She mentions she was injected with something. I don’t know the actual name, but let me tell you what it does: this radioactive material is made to attach itself to the bad cells, meaning that if they make a special scan/picture of you, lymphes with bad cells in it, will appear on screen. It’s like putting a magic marker in your system to show what parts are needed to treat.
This is not the kind of pic/scan you want to be able to see much of yourself on! It also hardly shows you as a person at all, much more like a Rohrschach butterfly or sorts.

Back to the book again. Which is fantastic, not much of any surprise really. It has two sections of added pictures for more fun, both of the beginning of The Comic Strip, the double acts and so on, as their personal life. It’s so cute to see quite such a soft side of Adrian Edmonson 🙂 (I was first introduced to his Vyvyan-version, quite a different side of him!)

A must read if you’re a fan, also a must read if you are into comedy at all. So much to learn from this clever lady!

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Posted by on June 25, 2016 in Books, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Orange Is The New Black

This series on Netflix is quite a powerful one. It starts with Piper Chapman going to prison willingly for having transporting drugs with her friend, Alex Vause. This has been quite a while ago and in the meantime, Piper has broken up with Alex and started a new life with a man whom she is now engaged to.

Piper Chapman is based on a real person, most of the characters are too. Piper was an actual inmate and what happens inside is the real deal, though I’m sure lots of it is -at least a bit- romanticised aswell.

The series stars are Taylor Schilling as Chapman, who is very good at putting up a desperate, innocent face. Excellent for a newbie in prisonhood, I gotta say. Further more Laura Prepon, Uzo Aduba (who is effing great! Really, WOW!), Michael Harney (the big, sad looking Droopy dog, who you can’t help wanting to throw a bone at, every now and then, just to comfort him), Lea DeLaria (bloody funny), Kate Mulgrew (again: WOW! Ace play in every way, angry or loving, awardingly stunning), Natasha Lyonne (reminds me a bit of Rizzo from Grease, somehow; big mouth, tiny heart), Yael Stone, Jessica Pimentel, Laverne Cox (Fashion Police inside prison. At least, at first sight), Danielle Brooks, Samira Wiley (sweet bookworm), Nick Sandow and Annie Golden. That last one, who plays Norma, is especially worth mentioning, as she is an important part of the group, but secretly doesn’t speak until…well, when she does. Meanwhile, everybody knows her. You too. You keep seeing her. You don’t notice she doesn’t speak until the moment she does.

The first season shows Piper who is trying to survive prisonhood. As an inmate of a -sort of- light crime, she doesn’t want any trouble, as most new inmates probably would like, but prisonlife simply doesn’t lend itself for that attitude.
Orange Is The New Black shows the viewer that in prison, the law is no longer with you. You’re part of a zoo with the other inmates there to make the rules for you. Make that laws. Telling on others will get you into trouble and there is no protection. I think that’s the most important message this series send out. Why prison is shit.
The first season also shows quite a lot of girl-on-girl-sex. In such a way, it bores quite quickly actually. Like all of them are lesbians, or you become as such, just being bored and think ‘oh, what the heck’. Though I’m sure it was great for the viewers rate somehow, it did get old quite quickly. Or maybe I’m just not lesbian enough, I don’t know 😉

The second season starts with showing what exactly happens when the course of the lawsuit against you, proceeds. And how ill informed you can feel as an inmate when this happens. Given that I insist on not throwing spoilers in here -there’s enough of that on social media anyway- I’ll just state that given how season 1 ends, you as a viewer are also put on the wrong leg in season 2. Excellent, of course, because this is what you want to know. How does it work when you’re in prison? If you’re in the outside world, people, especially government people, are obliged to inform you what they are about to do. It is normal to get answers too. When you’re in trouble already, this changes.
This season has its dull/slow moments, but overall it’s exciting and keeps you on your toes regularly.

The third season, however, is though well acted (never a problem there, to be honest) not all that ‘hot’.
And I don’t mean the sex. There’s loads of slow moments in it. Red and Healy having a moment is sweet and does make it possible to slow down a bit without getting bored, but especially things between Piper and Alex, throughout the series, is very ‘Ross & Rachel’ at times. Utterly boring. They’re stuck with each other and they hate it, but being in prison kind of makes it impossible NOT to run into each other and get either mad with rage or frustrated with wanting to talk it over. You already saw Friends, you don’t need that kind of reliving.

The fourth season is picking up the pieces that were loose balls, thankfully.
Not a dull moment in that one.
It does, however, lack the angry, personal emotions that were still there in season 1 and 2. Season 3 ended in a way that made Piper look tough for a change, but for the fourth season they apparently had a change of heart. It’s also a bit weird to see the cast in a different shape. Like they’ve ages enormously in just 5 minutes. Boo suddenly dropped quite some weight and girls that seemed harsh and inhumane, suddenly soften up. It helps that an inmate who was away for some time, returns and makes jokes about it, as it really is undeniable.
I’ll give them that.
Then again, the season has a storyline that will give you the shivers at times. It shows the inmates as groups, perhaps that’s why on personal level, they’re suddenly less agressive towards newbies.
It also shows what happens when budget cuts happen in prison. That it means less care and less human acting against prisoners. And that it’s never the ‘right one’ to suffer from these consequences. That warders play by their own rules if they see fit and that their opinion about prisoners is quite different from what these prisoners are used to with Caputo, the director.
Who has grown up by now. Well, in ways of caring. Before, he actually had time to jerk off, now he is happy if he can spend about 5 minutes behind his desk to clear up the mess that’s been left by his new warders.
In season 1 there’s already a warder that wasn’t quite clean, in season 4 it really gets very ugly.

All seasons have an excellent cliffhanger to them, but I personally most liked the one presented in season 3. Because it makes you feel happy along with them.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2016 in Opinion, series, Uncategorized

 

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The Bloodline (netflix)

I’ve only seen the pilot episode. To be honest, it made me mad with motion sickness. I don’t know where the one filming it goes his degree, but I guess I wasn’t from a place where a story needs to be convincingly told, just confusing enough to go on.
And no, the camera doesn’t go ‘on the move’ all the time, but when it does, there’s no way of catching on to the story.
Which is vague, as is quite normal for a pilot, I guess.
A family is gathered for the anniversary of the parents who have ran a hotel for years. The children are trying to get everybody to get along, but then there’s the brother, who is so full of himself that he rather doesn’t attend the party at all. When he does, it’s a big surprise. And he brought along a guest no one invited. He is the king of being rude.
Meanwhile, all of this already vague stuff is being interrupted with images of a brother carrying around this rude brother around, not really explaining anything.
I’m quite sure that was my cue to become curious, but I wasn’t. I decided this series wasn’t for me.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Opinion, series, Uncategorized

 

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Happy Valley season 1 (Netflix)

Having seen the first season, I do wonder how things will continue. The series profiles itself by saying the title is a wee bit ironic.
That’s not a lie.
Catherine Cawood (very well played by Sarah Lancashire) is a police sergeant, always on the go, with a heart for business. She will do whatever she can to help, but with firm talk.
Her colleague Kirsten McAskill (good play by Sophie Rundell, whom I swear to god looks so much like Emma Watson at times, it confused me. Rundell also played in The Bletchly Circle. Also ‘A Must See’) almost sees her as a motherfigure, and so do many, it seems.
Kirsten is a good worker, but a bit more easily intimidated, causing her to blink at times. She is a good friend and a good cop though.

But this first season is based on a fight that’s mostly a misunderstanding between two men.
Kevin Weatherill (well played by Steve Pemberton) is finding himself troubled after he has asked his boss Nevison Gallagher (awesome play by George Costigan) for a payraise and this is declined. You feel for Kevin, as you see his struggle to even ask such a thing.
Being the accountant of the company, Kevin finds he knows Nevison should be able to afford this. Nevison rather plays equal for all of his employers, but after a talk at home, his mind is changed. Not just because that’s the person he is, but since his wife Helen (Jill Baker) and daughter Ann (Charly Murphy) both think he’s a bastard for not agreeing to the proposed pay raise.
Unfortunately, by this time, Kevin has been visiting a friend of him, where Kevin finds out a bit more about this friend than he would ever have liked. However, given that Kevin is quite a desperate person at this moment, him and this friend come up with a plan for some ‘quick money’. Kevin tells his friend he knows Nevison has a daughter and should have a load of money. So why don’t they kidnap the daughter and extort Nevison for the money?
Everything goes different than Kevin had planned.

For starters, the money he needed, gets offered to him anyhow, while at the same time, Kevin receives a phonecall that the incredibly stupid plan he had, is being executed at that time.
It goes from bad to worse from that point. Kevin is not the kind of person to have nerves of steel. There’s times you wanna cut his balls off for showing no strength, to discover he hasn’t got any to begin with. It’s quite well played because of that, really.

Meanwhile, Catherine Cawood is in the middle of all this, unknown. She goes home to her sister (the strict but funny Siobhan Finneran, whom you know from Downton Abbey) who lives in the same house, Catherine has a grandson that starts acting up more violent every day and she has a son who no longer speaks to her, an ex-husband who can’t stop having one night stands with herself, and so on. They had a daughter who died and the reason why is the giving this season its main plot and makes it a soap all together. It’s entertaining in a dramatic way.

George Costigan and Jill Baker portray honest parents. The desperation one can read from their faces and the fear that comes along with a situation such as this, which you hope will never happen to you yourself.
Jill Baker and Sarah Lancashire together, along with Siobhan Finneran was quite a scene already, Sarah Lancashire with George Costigan in a later one was another stunner. The use of just eyes to bring a message across. Not many can do that so well. Costigan and Lancashire make it happen, even though it’s just a few seconds. That can be enough.

James Norton is a proper villain. Showing no remorse of any kind, showing no feelings or emotions for anyone but himself, he is a good at torture in every sense. He doesn’t respect any kind of authority and certainly has no boundaries for anything or anyone. You utterly feel for each and every one of his victims, good or bad.

Catherine Cawood is not a woman to mess around with, something I highly appreciate about this series. A proper superhero, if you will. She is the one with rational superpowers.
The moment where she truly helps the ones surrounding her are nothing short of raw emotion. You really feel your own adrenaline kick up. You’re with her in that room or wherever she might be and everything she feels, you feel. The injustice, the victory, it’s really there.
Also, they’ve done a great job with cliffhangers at the end of episodes, and starting the new one.

I had never heard of Sarah Lancashire or George Costigan before this. Time to change that!

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Opinion, series

 

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