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October 2010
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December 2010

The Lee And Herring Thinly Disguised Memoir Smackdown

Moon on a stick! There'll always be milk! I AM him! Who is the real sick man in this society? And so on.I don't know how long ago it seems to you, but the truth is this: Lee and Herring stopped being a full-time comedy double act in 1999. They get together for the odd reunion gig once in a while, but happily admit their time has passed. As Stewart Lee says, their double act "was predicated on the conflict between a thin man and a fat man... there is no mileage from the conflict of two similarly overweight men."

It's nice that Lee's come to terms with achieving the same BMI as Richard Herring, but to be fair they were never just a fatty and thinny duo. And the key differences in their personalities come through in the two very different books they published this summer, even though both of them start with the word 'How' and document a period of their lives in the early 21st century which saw them both shacking up with female stand-up comics.

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Do The Funky Gibbon

I notice the line 'let your wrist go limp like a bent baboon' doesn't make it into the 2010 version...

March 2010: I Put A Spell On You, by Shane MacGowan And Friends, released in aid of the survivors of the Haiti earthquake. Highest chart position: unknown, but outside the top 100.

April 2010: Joy Division Oven Gloves, by Half Man Half Biscuit, released in aid of BBC 6 Music. Highest chart position: 56.

Let's be honest: when it comes to joining in on campaigns to get charity singles to number one, this site has a shit track record. Nevertheless, shall we give it one more try before the end of the year? Because, you know, gibbons.

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Simian Substitute Site for November 2010: Monkey Fireworks


Movies: As promised, my comedown after two and a bit weeks of the London Film Festival was a trip to the Barbican to see yet another film: Big Tits Zombie (the more accurate Japanese title is actually Big Tits Dragon: Hot Spring Zombie Vs. Stripper 5). Crikey, it's not very good. Even in the context of the sort of tongue-in-cheek nonsense that Japanese studios deliberately make with one eye to the Western market, it's a feeble mixture of slapdash gore and clumsy titillation. Its late attempt at finally getting tits and blood within the same shot feels like a half-hearted attempt at offence rather than anything more transgressive. And its 3D sequences (amounting to no more than a few minutes spread thinly across the film) may well be the worst I've ever seen: you can appreciate the lo-fi aesthetic of going for old-school red/green glasses, but not when the image separation bears no relation to the distance between the average person's eyes. It just about worked as a curtain raiser for the upcoming Zipangu Fest, but not as anything else.

Music: Unexpected highlight of the month has been the album Vanibest by Vanilla Beans. When we saw them tear shit up live in Tokyo last May, they hadn't recorded very much: half a dozen or so singles and an album, no more. Which makes it all the more peculiar that their new release is a best-of compilation. Still, it's a enjoyable collection of oddities - old songs, new songs, cover versions, things written for adverts, and a couple of ancient tracks Stalinistically re-recorded to remove all traces of former member Rika. Latest single 100bankai no SMK gives you a good indication of their current poppier direction, though I defy anyone to come up with a non-obscene interpretation of what happens at 1:19 in the video.

Travel: I've never really got around to doing a food and drink section on the site - that sort of stuff tends to get lumped in under Travel. So, earlier this month, we travelled to trendy Shoreditch to sample the one-week-only delights of the Innocent Cafe. A pop-up restaurant devised by the notoriously whimsical smoothie people, its aim was simple: feed several thousand people their five portions of fruit 'n' veg a day, and only charge them a fiver for it. With regrettably-named celeb chef Gizzi Erskine concocting the menus, the food was scrummy, the atmosphere charming and the value for money sensational. And because it was only there from October 1st-8th, you probably missed it. Pay more attention next time.

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