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June 2011
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August 2011

Kill And Wait: A Royal Wedding Holiday In New York (#1 of 2)

Doo de-doo doo de-doo doooo doo, doo de-doo doo de-doo doooo doo, doo de-doo doo de-doo doooo doo, doo! (212) 736-5000! Exactly three months ago today, the wedding took place of Prince William and Kate Middleton. As far as I’m aware, he hasn’t subsequently tried to cop off with an older woman, and she hasn’t tried to chuck herself down a flight of stairs. I think that counts as a success, given the circumstances. Congratulations to them both!

Is it really three months? It seems like an age since all that nonsense at the Abbey. At the time, The Belated Birthday Girl and I were concerned that the nuptials would generate unnecessary amounts of hoopla, and we were looking for ways to avoid them. As we hadn’t yet got a big intercontinental holiday planned for the year, we decided to leave the country for a few days, and head for somewhere where they wouldn’t be making as much of a fuss about a royal wedding.

So we went to America. What the fuck were we thinking?

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Deadliest Warrior

Now, I like George Washington, and I like Napoleon. But which is best?They used to say that Charlie Brooker Is Right About Everything. That may have been the case once, but in recent years he’s dropped the ball embarrassingly quite a few times. And one of the biggest errors he’s made has been over the TV show Deadliest Warrior, whose third season has just kicked off Stateside. On two of Brooker’s own programmes, he’s railed against it as being a symbol of all that’s wrong with television today.

In one sense, he may be right. But in another sense, he’s completely ignoring that it’s a brilliantly – almost cynically - constructed bit of edutainment, with something for every viewer. Assuming you can actually see the bugger, which for British viewers is a separate problem altogether.

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MOSTLY FILM: Manchester International Festival 2011

Manchester skyline as seen by Mr Scruff: note Band On The Wall in the centre foregroundFor a while there, it was nearly going to have the title Tits, Festival And United. Thankfully, common sense prevailed prior to publication. Besides, my latest article for Mostly Film isn't just a bit of standalone nonsense: at least two of MF's regular writers (plus an occasional one) were attending this year's Manchester International Festival, and so there are going to be two separate reports coming out of it.

Some time next week, MF's art critic Ann Jones will be discussing what's going on in the city's galleries for the Festival. But today, you've got me talking about what The Belated Birthday Girl and I saw when we went up to Manchester for the opening weekend of the fest. Three reviews of three very different musical performances, all stripped of the rambly travel writing that I sometimes lapse into when I'm covering stuff away from home.

If you'd like to see that rambly travel writing, then press the red button now.

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Simian Substitute Site For July 2011: La Vallée Des Singes

La Vallée Des Singes MONTH END PROCESSING FOR JUNE 2011

Art: It's a terrible admission, but despite living in London for over a quarter of a century, and walking past Central St Martin's School of Art on Charing Cross Road countless times, this month was the first time I'd ever ventured inside. It'll be the last, too, because very soon they'll be moving the whole operation to a less-falling-apart new building in King's Cross. Which is a little bit of a shame, I feel. I was there for the Postgraduate Photography 2011 show, an interesting collision of styles and levels of experimentation. Obviously the main attendees of shows like this are people who know the postgrads involved, so let's shamelessly single out the work of Mike Pevsner here, particularly his hypnotic little piece entitled Sway.

Comedy: So, farewell then, Collings and Herrin? It's certainly looking that way. For the last three years, Andrew Collins and Richard Herring have been having lightly faked arguments with each other in a series of podcasts - you may recall that I got myself namechecked in one of them. However, it's just been announced that the podcast is going on hiatus for an unspecified period of time, owing to some "issues". In a wildly confessional blog post (too much information, says The BBG, and I think I agree to an extent), Collins has announced that his decision to take on a 6Music radio show with a new comedy partner has got Herring a bit upset. Which is a shame, because their most recent podcast, despite Herring's apparent lack of enthusiasm, has some comedy gold in it: an inspired selection of alternative names for the dog in the remake of The Dambusters, and a discussion of the recent banning of The Human Centipede 2 that segues into a queasy game of "what's the most offensive film scenario you can imagine". It's good that they've taken a professional break rather than risk the destruction of their personal relationship, and I hope they patch things up soon.

Travel: Does Brighton count as travel? Well, just a month after our day trip there to see Sufjan Stevens, we were back again for the final day of Brighton Japan, a week-long festival of food and culture from one of our favourite countries. The closing weekend was officially part of the Asahi Anime Festival, but the focus was on much more of Japan's cultural output. Kensei Taiko turned out to be another one of those drumming groups who were inspired by a Mugen Taiko Dojo beginners course, much like we were: anyone who knows Mugenkyo will be amused by Kensei's founder describing how he was "taught by Beatrix Kiddo". Alika Mochida had appeared earlier in the festival singing traditional Japanese enka, but for the final day she slummed it a little bit with cover versions of J-Pop classics from the likes of Ringo Shiina and Morning Musume. Pandaloid put on a fun dance show to the banging sound of Luka Luka Night Fever, while Zonic performed some nifty songs based on tunes from games like Sonic The Hedgehog and Lemmings. The most anime-inspired event of the day turned out to be a very silly gameshow, which at one point required its contestants to make Gundam robot costumes out of old cardboard boxes. Actually, to hell with it, just go to alihaikugirl's YouTube channel and you'll see how much fun it all was.

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