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Living For The Weekend: A 2018 Diary By The BBG

Echoes start as a cross in you / Trembling noises that come too soon / Spatial movement which seems to you / Resonating your mask or feud / Hollow talking and hollow girl / Force it up from the root of pain / Never said it was good, never said it was near / Shadow rises and you are here / And then you cut / You cut it out / And everything / Goes back to the beginningDiaries! They're rubbish, aren't they? Too much space for you to write in all the boring work stuff you've got to do during the weekdays: too little space for you to write in all the fun stuff you want to do during the weekends. A good diary would display an entire week across two pages, but dedicate one of those pages just to Saturday and Sunday.

But you know all this, of course. Because you were told about it in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. And guess what? 2018 isn't going to be any different. So for the seventh year running, The Belated Birthday Girl presents her Living For The Weekend diary, available for £3.99 (plus p&p) from the good people at

(Okay, you could argue that December 31st 2017 is a bad date to be releasing a 2018 diary. Still, at least it's better than last year.)

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His Sonic Experiments With Robert Fripp: Pick Of The Year 2017

True story: when I set up the Spotify playlist for this collection, it came up with the message 'To help us recommend songs, try a more descriptive name for your playlist'. It strikes me they could have found at least *one* person's work to recommend, surely?If we assume that my pal Lou has been the main inspiration behind my Pick Of The Year compilations for some time now, then this year's one - the 36th in total! - marks a couple of biggish anniversaries. Because it's the 25th compilation I've made for him since he started receiving them in 1993, and the 20th one to have been burned onto CD rather than copied onto a cassette.

The usual rules still apply, of course: this is a collection of the music released in 2017 that I liked the most, constrained by the medium it's collected onto, meaning a maximum of 80 minutes to play with. This year's batch is a right old mixture of album tracks, singles, and selections from EPs (one of the latter being primarily available on 7" vinyl, which hasn't happened around here for, um, decades). It's all been brought together on one CD (as well as playlists on YouTube and, soon, Spotify), and as usual there's a competition to win your own copy of the CD at the end of this page. Will Dave win it as usual? Let's find out...

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Yippee-Ki-Yay, Father Christmas

@MichaelLegge, 14/12/2016 1:24PM: "I think my favourite Christmas song is Die Hard. A lot of people forget that it's actually a Christmas song."

@SpankTM, 14/12/2016 1:32PM: "A lot of people forget that it's even a song."

At the time I sent that tweet to Michael Legge, I was referring to this song. But now there's another one. It's become a genre!

Season's greetings to all of you from myself, The Belated Birthday Girl and this year's Christmas song suppliers, Jonnie Common and Bec Hill.

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As eminent Batmanologist Chris Sims has pointed out this week, there is a fundamental flaw in this greetings card cartoon. Can *you* spot it?True story. About twenty-odd years ago, my young nephew had three favourite action figures. The first was Batman: with his lumpy grey suit and navy blue cowl, he was obviously based on the 1966 TV version, and presumably some sort of family heirloom. The second was Batman: all in black, a sculpted torso replacing the middle-aged spread, looking more like Michael Keaton did in the 1989 film. The third was, well, Batman: the square jaw and cartoonish features marked him out as being the one from The Animated Series, the version my nephew was most familiar with at the time. And I'd watch in fascination as he'd wrangle all three of them into play scenarios that would frequently end with them having a big fight.

In a way, that's kind of what we're doing on MostlyFilm today, as we continue the site's farewell run of posts. #NotAllBatmen features five of us each picking one depiction of the Caped Crusader - the three discussed above in action figure form, plus the one currently on telly in Gotham, and me looking at one of his DTV animated incarnations - and comparing them against each other. No big fight at the end of this one, unfortunately: the best I can do in this Red Button Bonus Content page is show you a bunch of trailers featuring each of our Batmen.

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MOSTLYFILM: Netflix i Chłód

Karol Kopiec. It's explained in the article, honestly.The whole internet loves MostlyFilm, a lovely website that loves everything apart from late period Steven Moffat!

*7 years later*

We regret to inform you the website is dead

It was a good run, let's be honest. When a bunch of refugees from Film Unlimited (including myself) first floated the idea of running our own movie blog back in 2011, we had no idea how long we could sustain it. It's amazing looking back at those first posts and realising that between us, we were churning out five new pieces of content every week. It took quite a long time, but gradually that enthusiasm wore off: the frequency dropped off to three posts a week, and then irregularly, while the editor's task of coordinating all the people involved became less and less fun.

For the last couple of months, the site has been kinda just been sitting there while we've been batting around a few ideas for a reboot, and eventually coming to the conclusion that we're more or less spent. A lesser website would have just pulled down the shutters at that point and walked away. We, however, are not a lesser website. We are Europe's Best Website. And so, over the next three weeks (taking us into the start of 2018), MostlyFilm will see one final burst of activity - a series of posts looking back on the last seven years, wrapping up a number of our ongoing series, and continuing to do things that you wouldn't expect from a site that's mostly about film.

And on the topic of doing things that you wouldn't expect, this lap of honour starts with a piece of mine called Netflix i Chłód, in which I review the half a dozen Polish stand-up comedy specials available on Netflix. The prospect of providing Red Button Bonus Content for that is a little daunting, but I'll see what I can do.

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Simian Substitute Site For December 2017: Jane


Books: “Well the first thing I wanna say is, mandate my ass.” In 1982 the NME gave away a cassette called Jive Wire, which among other things introduced me to Gil Scott-Heron via his ferocious anti-Reagan song B-Movie. Since then, I've seen him live in 1988, cheered his comeback in 2010, and mourned his passing in 2011. Cut to a month or two ago, when I was leaving the recent Tate exhibition Soul Of A Nation and discovered that the accompanying shop was selling Scott-Heron's autobiography, a book which I didn't even know existed up until that point. It turns out that The Last Holiday was assembled after Scott-Heron's death from about twenty years worth of attempts at a memoir, which explains its rather lumpy structure. It's a roughly chronological canter through his life, with special attention paid to the period in the early 80s when he was touring with Stevie Wonder (at the time when Wonder was heading up the campaign to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday). After that, the narrative thrust drops off, and we don't get to hear much about the troubles of his later years: it's hard to tell if this is a conscious omission by Scott-Heron, or just material he never got around to writing. Either way, what we have is beautifully written, and very much in the voice we've come to know and love from his recorded work. And afterwards, you'll want to drag out the records all over again.

Music: "We've managed to be a steampunk band for nearly ten years now without writing a song about Jack The Ripper. This is a song about Jack The Ripper." If there was an award for the best value gigs in London last month, then The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing would have to win hands down: they did three shows in tiny venues (Dublin Castle, Hope & Anchor, and the Sebright Arms), and only charged a fiver to get in. The catch? We were warned upfront that the bulk of the gig would involve them playing several songs they'd never performed in public before, as a warmup for the recording of their next album. And it struck me, watching this, that I used to experience this sort of thing all the time - certainly when I was at the peak of my Pogues fandom in the mid eighties, you'd come to expect that songs would appear in their live set at least a year before they made it onto record. Now I'm an old man, and the gigs I go to these days are largely by artists too big to risk trying out unfamiliar material. So, this made a nice change. We were at the second gig in the run (at Sebright Arms), and the ten or so new songs they played sounded just fine to me: their ode to Marie Curie is particularly poignant given Andy Heintz' recent cancer scare. The album should be out next March, apparently, so look out for that.

Telly: At some point in the next month, there should be a burst of activity on MostlyFilm, which has been a bit quiet for a few months now. Among other things, we'll probably address that quietness. For my part, you should expect a couple of contributions from me, including a piece celebrating the international programming that you find on Netflix nowadays: shows that they've made for a specific foreign market, and then made available worldwide in case anyone else is interested. Unlike the genre I'll be writing about in the piece, it's easy to see why Japanese shows based on manga have been deemed worthy of international exposure. Nevertheless, Blazing Transfer Students is a deranged piece of work and no mistake. A vehicle for the boy band Johnny's West, it features the seven lads as students transferred to the same mysterious school: on their first day, they're suddenly thrown into a wrestling ring and told to fight each other, even though they don't want to. By the end of the pilot episode (the only one I've watched so far), we're a little closer to understanding what's going on, but not much. Filmed in a surrealist comic-book style (complete with sound effects appearing as on-screen text), it starts out daft and gets dafter as it goes, with the trailer suggesting that a whole raft of genre spoofs are still to follow. It's possible that it may eventually get unwatchably ridiculous, but the sheer energy of the first episode is enough to persuade me to keep watching. For now, anyway.

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