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December 2007
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February 2008

Some People Are Just Nice: Pick Of The Year 2007

Just think: if this CD cover was an episode of NYPD Blue, I could be fined over a million dollars for it. (See tinyurl.com/2b4ptc for details.)For latecomers: I've been making Pick Of The Year compilations on and off for the last, ooh, quarter of a frickin' century or so. After a hiatus of a few years in the early nineties, I was talked back into the process by Lou, which resulted in the 1993 compilation tape Younger Than The Stones. Maybe one of these days I'll document the Cassette Years of 1993-7: but as far as you lot are concerned, the next important date is 1998, when Damn Your Black Heart, Barbra Streisand was the first of these jobbies to make it onto a CD. And I've been writing about them annually since. Some People Are Just Nice is the tenth one, hence the lazy sleeve featuring the previous nine.

So, now you're up to speed, here are my choices of the best songs of 2007, along with a competition if you fancy winning a copy of the CD for yourself. (Closing date February 29th 2008. Terms and conditions apply. See below.)

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VidBinge 2007

Leaving 1999 to one side (as the writeup was published seven years after the event), here are the stats:

2000: VidBinge held 16th Dec, writeup published 22nd Dec = 6 days

2001: VidBinge held 15th Dec, writeup published 1st Jan = 17 days

2002: VidBinge held 21st Dec, writeup published 12th Jan = 22 days

2003: VidBinge held 20th Dec, writeup published 20th Jan = 31 days

2004: VidBinge held 18th Dec, writeup published 1st Feb = 44 days

2005: VidBinge held 17th Dec, writeup published 21st Dec = 4 days

2006: VidBinge held 16th Dec, writeup published 17th Jan = 32 days

2007: VidBinge held 8th Dec, writeup published 16th Jan = 39 days

So no, this isn't the latest it's ever been, honestly.

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Soupy Norman

'Remember the pizza I brought you in October? I put my schlong in it!' Confrontation between Dad and Soupy Norman Maybe I was a little too harsh on Das iTeam last week. Then again, having heard the results from the German jury, maybe I wasn't. Either way, you know as well as I do that this isn't generally the sort of site that revels in kicking the crap out of bad stuff. That sort of thing's far too easy, and you can get it anywhere on the internet. Celebrating the good stuff that's out there and not widely known about: that's a lot harder, but much more satisfying.

So, then, let's balance out Das iTeam with this: Soupy Norman, a show which proves that in fact it is possible to take a successful TV show from one country, and adapt it to make it equally successful in another one. Although it looks like a total lack of respect for the original may be the key to success in this case.

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Das iTeam

Haben Sie versucht es weg und einzuschalten wieder?It's a new year, and that usually means new comedy shows for Friday nights on telly. So how about this one, which'll be starting on January 4th? It tells the story of Sandy Grünwald (Britta Horn), the newly-appointed head of the IT department at Bornholm AG. Her team consists of the lovable rogue Tom Zacher (Sebastian Münster) and the ultra-nerdy Gabriel Baumann (Stefan Puntigam). All Sandy has to do is keep control of them, and make sure her boss Oswald Bornholm (Sky Du Mont) never finds out how little she knows about computers...

Yes, you're right, this is sounding a little familiar. Das iTeam - Die Jungs an der Maus (to give it its full title) is a German shot-for-shot remake of the UK sitcom The IT Crowd. Its first episode is showing on Germany's SAT1 channel this Friday night at 9.45pm.

Das iTeam is being pitched towards an entirely different audience from The IT Crowd, of course. A whole other nation's comic traditions and televisual grammar are at work here. It would be monstrously unfair to compare the two shows with each other. So let's do it.

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Simian Substitute Site for January 2008: Code Monkey

You know, when The Belated Birthday Girl offered me Danish painkillers at 7am this morning, I found myself really really hoping that they'd taste of bacon. No such luck, though.

Why painkillers? Because once again we spent New Year's Eve in the company of the lovely people at the Red Rose Comedy Club in North That London. Comedy from Hal Cruttenden, Hattie Hayridge and Glenn Wool, live music and dancing from Ronnie And The Rex, and beer at normal pub prices once you'd paid your £25 entry fee (hence the need for the painkillers next day). If you're in the Finsbury Park area in 365 days time, you could do a lot worse.

And why Danish? Well, it's probably safe to reveal now that The Belated Birthday Girl and I spent Christmas 2007 in Copenhagen. If I hadn't been spending New Year's Eve getting pissed, you could have had a writeup of our trip by now: as it is, you'll probably get to see it in a week or so.

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