Most of it's boring

I could tell ya, but what's in it for me?

There are 171 posts tagged: culture vulture

Babbling books
5 June 2024

It's taken us to halfway through the year, but the BBC's book babes are back, thoroughly reviewing reviewers' reviews to bring us twelve of the best table top decorations, or leg props, of 2023 thus far. This was as much as they served up in the first quarter two years ago. Whether it's because the ink slingers are slacking off, or the bookworms' have tightened their standards for inclusion this year, is anyone's guess though.

Flopbusters 2024
30 May 2024

The year has not been kind to Hollywood, with some major flops past and a largely uninspiring upcoming slate. Last weekend was the US Memorial Day holiday, and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga*—a too-late-to-ride-the-wave, Max-less, Mad Max sequel prequel—bombed spectacularly, contributing to the lowest holiday box office take in decades.

But is it art?
23 May 2024

What is art? It's a subjective question to say the least. One often wrestled with by ignoramuses such as I, when confronted by primitive daubings shat onto canvas by talentless hacks and snapped up by credulous cocks with too much money to spare.

Flagging a dead horse
14 May 2024

The Eurovision Song Contest has been and supposedly passed. All the same, it's not going gentle into that good night. At least the controversies add a little spice to the event's usual blandness.

11 May 2024

It's that time of year again, folks. The time in question being the one when each country in Europe enters a—generally terrible—song into a competition to find the least bad. And because this is the Eurovision Song Contest, Israel's in the running. Wait, what? (confused)

Rapper's delight
30 April 2024

Announced on the BBC's home page: Iranian rapper sentenced to death. It seems harsh, but not unreasonable.

Busy bodies
28 March 2024

After careful study and consideration, Harvard University library has removed the binding of one of its books, because it was made from human skin. The decision was made in the light of stakeholder engagement and taking into account the ethically fraught nature of the book's origins and subsequent history.

Whop-arse: a dish best served cold
27 March 2024

The BBC News headline proclaims: Disney and DeSantis allies end legal dispute over control of theme park. It sounds like a rapprochement, doesn't it? The real lead, however, is buried in the penultimate paragraph:

Arboreal art
20 March 2024

Banksy, the gheyly-named street artist; sociopolitical commenter; and all-round enigma, struck again in north London over the weekend, when he painted a mural that returned a recently-pollarded tree to leafy splendour. It must have come as some relief to the locals, who're more accustomed to looking down while navigating Britain's dogshit-strewn pavements, because Islington Council spent taxpayers' money to install a protective fence, and further plan to install CCTV. It's gotta be a great life, living in Islington with so much public money sloshing around. (rolleyes)

And the award for best representation goes to…
12 March 2024

Barbie wasn't the only example of a snub at this year's Oscars ceremony, oh no! And it's happened before, oh yes! On behalf of BBC Culture, Sarah Bregel recounts past and current woes, as those who wait to be called up to the stage are cruelly sidelined.

29 February 2024

The latest episode of British institutional fragility comes courtesy of the British Board of Film Classification raising the age rating for Mary Poppins, from U to PG, because a derogatory term [hottentots] originally used by white Europeans about nomadic peoples in southern Africa is used to refer to soot-faced chimney-sweeps. (snowflake)

A Miss Moneypenny, 'er gone
24 February 2024

BBC News' home page piqued my interest this morning as it teased (right): Miss Moneypenny actress Pamela Salem dies aged 80. Wowzers! There are a lot of Bond films that I have only passing familiarity with—all of Pierce Brosnan's for a start—so I was curious to know which among the pantheon the late Ms Salem had graced with her secretarial thesping.

Pride and prejudice
30 January 2024

An open letter to the Writers Guild of America, from one of its members, is saying the quiet thing out loud. Talent and experience are no longer valued prerequisites for writing gigs, what matters is DivErSitY AnD InCLuSiOn™, even if it's only thinly-veiled division and exclusion.

45 is the magic number
20 January 2024

There's something about forty-five books that titillates an excitable bookworm. It must be a magic number among the literary cognoscenti. (nerd)

Black arts
11 January 2024

AI is causing quite the stir among the creative classes, specifically animators and comic book artists in this case. According to David Crownson, who focuses on stories about black characters: a white person could tell his AI to create an action adventure comic with black characters. As if [spit] whytees aren't allowed to create black characters.

Late booking
29 December 2023

With only two days to go before we say so long, and thanks for all the fish to 2023, I didn't think our two book babes were going to make it with a closing update to their possibly-must-read list. But they managed to sneak in, almost at the last moment, with an additional eight tomes, rounding out thirty-three of the best books of the year.

101 damnations
27 December 2023

Well, well, well! The communards of the People's Republic of Portland Place are facing up to the fact that the awoken of The Walt Disney Company have not had a wildly successful 2023 at the box office. Only one of Disney's six cinematic releases this year—Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3—turned a modest profit, while others bombed, some of them spectacularly. Nicholas Barber does his best to analyse the Mouse House's cinematic performance, without actually apportioning too much of the credit blame to the Burbank Bastards themselves. Or, at least, to their sociopolitics.

Pigs to the cancel
13 December 2023

SJW have been trying to cancel people on social media, particularly Twitter, for years. But the acronym is a conflagration of three favourable attributes: social; justice; and warrior, which together give it an air of positivity. Any of them engaging in digital lynch mobs would consider themselves as being on the right side of history. In reality though, they're self-serving, black-hearted cowards; and SJW is not a fitting term.

Like lemmings running off a cliff
20 November 2023

Boasting an exclusive BBC Archive clip of Walt Disney—presumably by way of bumming a seat at TWDC's centennial celebrations—Myles Burke examines the birth of Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie: How Walt Disney came back from ruin. Emboldened by the success of the world's first sound animation, Walt went on to greater animation heights, and even branched out into wildlife documentaries.

Miss PaTriArchY
10 November 2023

Oh crap, that's torn it! T3h PaTriArchY's deep-cover operative within the beauty pageant business has been blown. JKN Global Group has filed for bankruptcy.

Orwell that ends well
7 November 2023

The expiration of UK copyright covering George Orwell's works in 2022 gave lesser authors opportunity to churn them, and ride the publicity train afforded by his stature and legacy within the literary pantheon. Sorry, I meant to say reimagine them through contemporary eyes; silly old me.

Where are the meatballs?
4 November 2023

At first I wasn't sure whether Annabel Rackham is telling us what it's like to go clubbing in a converted IKEA store, or asking us what's it like to go clubbing in a converted IKEA store? Because, if the latter, I can't help her; I don't know, I've never tried it. Fortunately, however, it turns out she has.

Across the panderverse
1 November 2023

The latest instalment of South Park has dropped to streaming on Paramount+. Unfortunately for me at least, anything streamed on Paramount+ may as well be streamed on the moon. There are online reviews, however, and even my viewing options stretch that far.

Book it like Becky
17 October 2023

Another quarter of a year has flown past, and more books are added to our list to help the next do the same.

Totem recall
9 October 2023

The BBC home page teases: A sacred pole stolen by the British. And the leader to Diane Selkirk's The Canadian museum filled with stolen art doubles down on the accusation.

Oh deer 🦌
29 September 2023

Disney is to remake another animated classic, Bambi, in live-action format for modern audiences. The writer, Lindsey Anderson Beer, explained how 1942's original treatment could be problematic or offensive to current-day sensibilities. (snowflake)

22 September 2023

This week's BBC quiz of the week ended with a question on astronomy, hence the scores' categories. Now, we all know that Space Oddity was a '70s hit for David Bowie, and Lucky Star was by Madonna, back when she was interesting and relevant; but what about Waiting for a Star to Fall, released all the way back in 1988? That was by Boy Meets Girl, and I knew the answer without having to look it up. (proud)

Retrx cool
15 September 2023

In Pachucos: The Latinx subculture that defied the US, Rafael Estefania [sic] introduces us to the pachucos, a Latin American subculture within the USA that grew from alienation; rebellion; and a love of music and dance. Kinda. Harking back to the styles of the '30s–'50s, they seem almost effortlessly cool now. (cool)

Fringe cut
25 August 2023

It was only thanks to this week's BBC News quiz of the week that I learned of this year's Dave Award for funniest joke at the Edinburgh Fringe. And it's been awarded to a comedienne for the first time since 2008. I won't repeat Lorna Rose Treen's winning joke here, because it's about as funny as last year's winner, and pretty much anything from Tim Vine's entire repetoire. This is not meant as a ringing endorsement.

Unimaginative reimagination
15 August 2023

As Disney's reimagining of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, now just Snow White, comes under criticism for tokenised race-swapping of the titular heroine; re-characterisation of the dwarves; rewriting the story for modern audiences; and Rachel Zegler running her mouth in interviews, the BBC's very own entertainment and arts reporter, Emma Saunders asks: Has the fairy tale already gone sour?

Plot twist!
11 August 2023

In The Man Who Invented The Plot Twist, Adrian Gray educates us on the rise and fall of Rowan Blake, who introduced the plot twist to Hollywood's otherwise risk-adverse dramatic output for TV during the '50s.

The Timberlake syndrome
3 August 2023

A hagiography of Angus Cloud is illustrated among the BBC's features' picks with an image previously used to illustrate BBC Culture's deep-dive into cinematic buttocks. I guess all average-looking, cropped-haired, white actors look alike. (shrug)

Around the world in 80 minutes*
28 July 2023

Nicholas Barber presents us with ten of the best films to watch this August. He has, however, used the same approach as those pseudo bibliophiles Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker when compiling their must-read lists, and turned to snippets he's found elsewhere on t'intertubes. This isn't his first waltz around the ballroom y'know.

No sex please, we're rabbits
28 July 2023

Celebrity deaths seem to be quite the thing for closing the BBC's quiz of the week. This week's ended with the passing of Tony Bennett. But that's not what made it remarkable, at least for me, because I knew about Bennett's death already, albeit not that his stage name had been given to him by Bob Hope.

Fewer of not the best
21 July 2023

Those bookish babes at BBC Culture, Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker, have finally got around to updating this year's must-reads-so-far list. And, breaking from their film-buff counterparts, they've thankfully updated their article's headlining image, presenting a pleasant change from the gormless photo of Eleanor Catton that's been there since April.

The person most responsible
11 July 2023

As Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny dies an ignominious death at the box office, looking forward to a post-theatrical life as one of cinema's biggest and undoubtedly most infamous bombs, thoughts in some quarters turn to holding those responsible to account. The perennial bête noir of Lucasfilm's traditional fandom, the company's president Kathleen Kennedy, is once again rumoured to be ousted. It's a rumour that's circulated several times before, however, and yet Teflon Kate remains. She must know where bodies are buried.

7 July 2023

While film buffs Barber and James score points over the bookworms, Laurence and Baker, for actually having seen at least some of the films that they're recommending, they lose a few for the laziness with which they recycle their article. No new image to lure the reader in. Hell's teeth, they can't even be bothered to update the date from 14th April! The only betrayal of change is a slight revision to the title, just to reflect the additions.

7 July 2023

2023 has been a year of some major box office bombs, and we're only at the halfway mark. In his assessment of what might be going wrong for the current slate of tentpole releases alongside Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Nicholas Barber mentions such notable disasters as The Flash; Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken; Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania; Fast X; and Elemental. He omits Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Little Mermaid though.

25 June 2023

For those of us who've been living under a rock for more than a decade, the swimwear parade of the Miss England beauty pageant was abandoned in 2009, after a former contestant complained it was degrading. Think about that for a moment. Nobody forced her to compete, did they?

Bible bashing
3 June 2023

After the pornography of Michaelangelo's David, comes the vulgarity and violence of the King James Bible. I shit you not. A parent in Utah complained of its depravity, and the school district has removed it from elementary and middle schools.

Game theory
24 May 2023

According to Dove—the brand of soap, of all things—74% of girls feel underrepresented in video games. How the hell do they think boys feel? How many video game characters are portrayed as pasty-, spotty-faced bespectacled youths, with the physique of a garden rake and the charisma of a dishcloth?

Let there be light!
16 May 2023

With people complaining that trailers for Disney's upcoming reimagining of The Little Mermaid were too dark and dingy to see properly—although it's only one of a plethora of criticisms—Nicholas Barber explains why some current blockbusters are so poorly-lit.

How much excitement is there for Eurovision?
13 May 2023

Anyone visiting the BBC's home page over the last couple of weeks would be under the impression that the corporation wasn't just broadcasting the Eurovision Song Contest—at least I assume it is—but someone at Beeb Towers actually had shares in the bloody thing. Magazine features; profiles on each of the nonentities in competition; a run-down of the contest's machinations; and overviews of contests past. Even its own section on the home page itself.

Grauniads of the galaxy
29 April 2023

I've boycotted all of Disney's output and services since the company's complicity in genocide and re-education came to light with the release of Mulan in 2020. I thought it would be difficult, having watched most of the releases during the MCU's first three phases, culminating in Avengers: Endgame, but on the contrary, Kevin Feige and Disney Marvel Studios have made it laughably easy.

Twinkle toes
28 April 2023

Len Goodman, head judge of Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars, died this week, and the BBC News quiz of the week honoured him with its final question. The categories' descriptions are three of his witticisms (apparently, I never watched the bloody shows myself).

Not the best
22 April 2023

They got there in the end. BBC Culture's resident bookworms, Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker, were not subjected to pest-control agents after all. They just seem to have been waiting to see what Barber and James came up with first. And one thing they've learnt is to dial back the hyperbole. Unlike last year's lists, we're presented with twelve of the best books that 2023 has had to offer thus far.

Low self esteem
21 April 2023

This week's BBC News quiz finished off with a question on the BBC Proms: Pop star Self Esteem was included in the line-up for this year's BBC Proms. But which children's TV show also has two slots in the eight-week classical music festival?

16 April 2023

Those redoubtable bookworms Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker seem to have been given a dose of some sort of pest control agent. Instead, BBC Culture treats us to film buffs Nicholas Barber and Caryn James extolling the virtues of twelve films released so far this year. Hedging their bets over their literary rivals, Barber and James only claim their choices to be of the best, not the best.

(Princess) Peachy
14 April 2023

The Super Mario Bros. Movie has been hotly-anticipated by grown adults all over social media. I have no idea why; Nintendo's Italian plumbers have never appealed to me. And what I saw of Mario Kart looked totally gay in comparison to Crash Team Racing; which is why we ended up with a PS4, rather than whatever gaming console it is that Nintendo sells. (shrug)

Taking the piss
10 April 2023

In the wake of recent controversy over narcissist and self-publicist Dylan Mulvaney being attached to Bud Light as a brand ambassador.

Government-funded anti-government media
10 April 2023

A couple of days ago, Twitter designated NPR as state-affiliated media, although it has since backtracked slightly, amending its label to government funded media. At the time, I wondered how long it would take for the BBC to be assigned a new label.

Lost magic
2 April 2023

I was saddened to read of the passing of Japanese musician and actor Ryuichi Sakamoto. With YMO, he pioneered electronic music that sounded warmer, more human, and less industrial than Kraftwerk.

25 March 2023

Following a sixth-grade art lesson at Tallahassee Classical School, FL, a parent complained that the students had been exposed to pornography when shown Michelangelo's statue of David. As a result, the school's principal was forced to resign or be fired.

Tax-free travellin'
5 March 2023

Ireland's gyppos—sorry, Travellers—want their history and culture to be taught as part of the curriculum in Irish schools.

2 March 2023

Writing for BBC Culture (Film subdivision, Horror department), Nicholas Barber posits that King Kong is the mondo besto monster film evahsies.

20 February 2023

The late Roald Dahl's publisher, Puffin, hired sensitivity readers to flap‑flap‑flap, and rewrite his works for a modern audience; presumably one of emotionally-fragile adults. And, thus, tiny minds at Inclusive Minds have gone through his collected works, excluding the unwords and wrongthink that triggered their butthurt detectors.

Angry Birds
19 February 2023

I'd forgotten about Angry Birds. Yeah, I used to play the game, back in the day. Who didn't? But I haven't touched it for years. Who has?

Smash hit
10 February 2023

One of the great things about growing up before everything was retained for eternity on some server somewhere, is that things we wish to forget gradually fade from the memory as time passes. Embarrassing encounters; youthful imprudence; those bloody awful songs that managed to climb the music charts, and were played ad infinitum on the radio. That sort of thing.

Fatty Owls
8 February 2023

John Cleese has announced that, in a fit of uncreativity, he's reviving Fawlty Towers after more than forty years. I'm not sure how I feel about it to be honest.

Mic drop
7 February 2023

Nothing, Forever is an AI-generated webtoon based on Seinfeld and its principal characters. Streaming continuously on Twitch, it's apparently more of an exercise in the use of the technology than a source of genuine entertainment. At least, the clips that I've seen weren't amusing; a case of art imitating life, perhaps? (shrug)

Prancing prophet
8 January 2023

Since being fan-edited into Jenna Ortega's dance improv in s1e4 of Netflix's Addams Family spin-off, Wednesday, Lady Gaga's Bloody Mary has become a bit of a trope on social media. I guess I never paid much attention to it before now. But now I have…and the lyrics are enlightening, to say the least.

She is risen!
8 January 2023

Susan Meachen is was is an author who committed suicide. Except she didn't. Instead, she faked it because [reasons]. But, now she's back, some of her fans feel betrayed that she she didn't actually go through with it. And with fans like that, who needs enemies?

Film 2023
6 January 2023

At least Nicholas Barber and Caryn James allowed us to see the new year in before unleashing 20 of the best films to watch in 2023 upon us. Unlike that excitable wee bookworm, Emma Saunders.

Book to the future
27 December 2022

Bloody hell! We've only just recovered from the fifty best books of 2022, and the year still has a few days left in which to read them, yet Emma Saunders is already trying to steal a march on Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker for 2023.

Changing of the guard: a new hope
15 December 2022

As James Gunn and Peter Safran put together a roadmap for the DCEU, rumours of major changes are circulating in the mainstream and social media. As someone who appreciated Zac Snyder's darker and grittier approach to the genre—especially in comparison to the tired old MCU jokefest—it all sounds a little ominous.

Fully booked
15 December 2022

As 2022 draws to a close, thoughts turn to the 39 best books of the year so far. Except they don't, because our fearless culture vultures, Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker, actually present us with The 50 best books of the year 2022. Oh goody gumdrops!

A promise of things to come
14 December 2022

While pimping Babylon—an upcoming story of Hollywood's licentious past—on behalf of BBC Culture, Christina Newland teases the truth about the scandals of the silent film era. Except I'm not sure whether she actually reveals the true truth, or just that as portrayed in the film, because she may not have written it yet. And, even if she has, we'll have to wait until the end of next week for it to go live. Again.

24 November 2022

Diane Bernard is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. She writes for the Washington Post and NPR, among other mainstream media outlets. So, I guess she could be considered to be progressive and right on.

Old hag
4 November 2022

For those of you unaware of the existence of the hagsploitation film genre, it's apparently a thing. Inspired by 1962's What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?—itself inspired by Sunset Boulevard, twelve years earlier—a plethora of films was released during the '60s and '70s starring ageing actresses at a point in their careers where work was harder to come by.

11 October 2022

My, doesn't time fly when you're having fun? Another quarter of a year, another best-books-of-the-year-so-far list, courtesy of those BBC Culture vultures Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker.

What's a rom?
4 October 2022

Bros is a romcom that mixes up a dying genre with a same-sex relationship. Judging by the excruciating trailer though, it appears to be light on the com. So I guess that makes it a rom then.

Rings of Pooper
25 September 2022

Amazon Prime's high-budget/low-rent take on Tolkien's Lord of the Rings mythos, The Rings of Power, has had a bumpy ride getting to the screen. But it's even bumpier now it's on screen; or at least those that are tuned in to the streaming service.

21 September 2022

Of all the cultural commentary channels to be thrown up at me on YouTube, JosiahRises is probably the most pointless. The man has such a zealous hate-boner for Hollywoke elites that it amounts to obsession; there's nary humour or critical objectivity. It must be the distortion caused by his Christian-conservative lens. But I'm sure he's a riot at parties.

Representative audience
18 September 2022

A treatise on why Hollyweird has failed Generation Z should reveal some interesting insights. After all, why would an industry of make-believe not try to cultivate a new generation while it's still malleable? The suits at Disney, Warner Bros, and the like have a deep and long-held fondness for money; surely they'd want to maximise the size of the paying audience, rather than ignoring an emerging key demographic?

Fringe benefits
22 August 2022

It's been three full years since we last laughed—or groaned, in the case of Tim Vine's efforts—at the joke voted by members of the public as the funniest to have been presented at the Edinburgh Fringe festival. But now the Dave Award has returned, and the winner is…not Tim Vine. TFFT!

19 August 2022

The Edinburgh Fringe has for decades been a bastion of cutting-edge, often raw comedy. This is where comedians go to try out their wildest, newest material, and where grown-ups go to be shocked as well as entertained. Snowflakes should look elsewhere.

Goo-goo(gly) eyes
5 August 2022

Googly eyes on YouTube video thumbnails: it's a trope that's overused on pop culture and social commentary hot-takes; often accompanied by copius tears and exclamation marks. And this isn't just my opinion, it's one that was recently shared by none other than Richard Meyer, who's cropped up here before. And that reminded me of something…

All aboard the gravy train
12 July 2022

Gary Lineker's salary may have stagnated since last year, but he's still the top earner receiver among the BBC's crack team of TV and radio presenters, being given £1,350,000.* The top ten includes just three women, after Lauren Laverne dropped out when her wedge fell to a measly £380,000. Shitbag, it's hardly worth getting out of bed for that…if only I had a violin.

Must read?
10 July 2022

Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker have been hard at it, reading books on behalf of BBC Culture. Either that, or genuine bookworms have been hard at it, reading books on their behalf. For they have compiled a list of the 26 best books of the year so far. Mostly novels and poetry, with a smattering of memoirs; clearly no non-fiction books of any note have been released in the last six months.

The King and Them
27 June 2022

In anticipation of Baz Luhrmann's biopic of Elvis Presley—creatively entitled Elvis—Kaleem Aftab muses over Presley's cultural appropriation of black music.

Buzz cut
20 June 2022

Disney's drive to mine its past creative heights, in place of anything truly original, continues unbounded. This time, it's the turn of Pixar's Toy Story franchise to give it up for the House of Mouse. Lightyear is the origins story behind the toy voiced by Tim Allen. And it's the film that Andy watched in the early '90s, that made him covet his very own Buzz Lightyear toy.

Cotton candy correspondents
14 June 2022

It kinda irritates me when news is reported with holes in it, to avoid causing offence to some cosseted group or another.

18 May 2022

In a move that that I'm not aware many anticipated, much less desired, N-Dubz are reuniting, eleven years after they gifted the world with their split.

A grave matter
5 May 2022

The National Trust, which manages Freshwater West beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales, has commissioned a survey to decide whether a grave paying tribute to Dobby, the house elf who died in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, should be moved from the beach where his death was filmed.

30 April 2022

Disney continues to strip mine its IP to generate content for, and interest in, its streaming channel, Disney+. Following on from its previous Star Wars offshoots, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, comes Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Batwahmxn: done fookin' scissorin'
30 April 2022

Batwoman, one of the series set within The CW's Arrowverse, has been cancelled after three seasons. I only ever caught clips of it, usually when it was being roasted for its sheer bloody awfulness.

10 April 2022

We're only a quarter of the way through 2022, but already Rebecca Laurence and Lindsay Baker have compiled a list of the fourteen best books of the year, thus far, on behalf of BBC Culture. Not ten. Not fifteen. And, fortunately, not twenty. Fourteen.

Proof of Ed?
24 March 2022

Matt Kenyon is a journalist and comedy writer for BBC Radio 4. In The jokes that have made people laugh for thousands of years, he reveals that lowbrow humour, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been with humankind from time immemorial. So, Amy my vagina is my humour Schumer isn't quite the innovator that we might've thought her to be.

Old LA
21 March 2022

In his customary overly-critical analysis of pop music lyrics, Todd in the Shadows comments on a line in 1974's Beach Baby, written by John (Carter) and Gillian Shakespeare, and performed by The First Class. This example of British bubblegum pop whimsy opens with this truly excruciating rhyming couplet:

The most obvious Star Trek story ever
17 March 2022

Any best of list or best ever selection is bound to be wreathed in subjectivity. Especially when considering such a long-running TV show as Star Trek and its spawn.

Gay, gay, gay
3 March 2022

This post marks the three ages of gay:

Of gods and dwarves
2 March 2022

So, there's a great deal of bitchin', back-and-forth on social media, over Amazon's reimagining of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings fantasy world. It's kinda funny, watching grown men and women, but mainly [cough] men, get so animated about the arcane details in stories of elves and dwarves. Hey-ho, if it floats their boats, at least it's harmless.

Sheep to be fleeced
1 March 2022

Disney has launched a new Star Wars experience at Disney World, Florida: the Galactic Starcruiser, a Star Wars–themed luxury hotel. It is luxuriously expensive. But, from the early reviews, it appears that the actual experience is not similarly luxurious.

His Royal Popness
25 February 2022

This week's BBC News quiz is teased with Which pop royalty will play this jubilee gig? Someone has an insanely liberal definition of pop royalty if the answer's George Ezra. (pipe)

17 February 2022

After buying Wordle from its developer, the New York Times sought to reassure fans that the gameplay will remain unchanged.

The NYT denied any changes to gameplay, but it did admit that it was in the process of removing "offensive words" which included whore, slave and wench from both the list of acceptable guesses and the answers.

Jane Wakefield, technology reporter, BBC News

Half-arsed job
15 February 2022

As Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile is released to cinemas, David Jesudason addresses racism in her work. I cannot pretend that I read the whole article; I only got as far as the incongruity in Branagh's casting compared to setting.

Hey Joe
5 February 2022

The remaining members of CSNY have joined Neil Young in removing their music from Spotify. This is since Spotify has instituted misinformation warnings, and Joe Rogan has undertaken to be more balanced in future.

The peasants are revolting!
2 February 2022

Less than one month after their labour union was ratified, the comrades at Image Comics have filed a claim against the company for unfair labor practices. Grab the pitchforks and man person identity-unassumed the barricades, we're going to war!

Et Cetera
1 February 2022

On the few occasions that Todd in the Shadows reviews the musical mitherings of Chicago, and Peter Cetera's voice in particular, he doesn't use glowing terms. I know how he feels.

Halo, is it me you're looking for?
1 February 2022

A live-action TV series of the Halo game franchise is coming to the Paramount+ streaming service. The trailers are…grandiose and bombastic.

Head in the Clouds
29 January 2022

Another ageing hippy, and musical has-been, is leaving Spotify over Chongvirus misinformation. This time, it's Joni Mitchell.

You'll believe a mong can fly
26 January 2022

In GAY IT FORWARD: Established Diversity Hires Escort A New Generation Of Diversity Hires Into Comics, Richard Meyer discusses the old boy network for comics' grifters.Hacks who get into writing comics through identity and representation, rather than more mundane traits; such as any talent for character development and storytelling, for example.

Old man howls at moon
25 January 2022

Ageing rocker, Neil Young, has demanded that Spotify remove his music from its platform, in protest at podcaster Joe Rogan spreading Chongvax misinformation.

Short story
25 January 2022

Peter Dinklage is outraged over Disney's live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Not for the brown-washing of the main titular character, but for the portrayal of the other seven.

A question of ownership
25 January 2022

Non-fungible tokens (NFT) are unique, encrypted digital tokens that can be used to certify ownership of an artwork, for example. There can be only one owner of an NFT, and this represents one way in which artists and collectors can move their interaction into the digital space.

Trailer trial
23 January 2022

Two fans of Ana de Armas are suing Universal Pictures. They contend that they were duped into renting the film Yesterday, believing that she would feature in it. But, although she appeared in the trailer, her role was removed from the film's final release.

17 January 2022

It's been a long time coming. But the winds of change are finally set to blow throughout the People's Republic of Portland Place.

I'm sarcastic, therefore I'm brainy
12 January 2022

According to David Robson, writing for BBC Family Tree, a teenager's sarcasm reflects their intellect. Fortunately for me, my sarcastic teen, Emily, doesn't read the BBC online.

Altered images
11 January 2022

In an advertorial for Apple TV+'s The Tragedy of Macbeth, on behalf of BBC Culture, Hanna Flint explores the background behind Why Lady Macbeth is literature's most misunderstood villain. Meanwhile, for their part, the BBC's home page editor doesn't understand the question.

What's in a Wordl?
5 January 2022

I had never heard of the online game, Wordle, until I read today that it will never become attention grabbing or advert laden, which is reassuring.

Sally Ann Howes: no longer banging
22 December 2021

On the death of Sally Ann Howes, star of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, her son, an artist named Andrew Hart Adler, announced her loss on his Instagram account.

The Matrix Resuscitated
22 December 2021

In his ★★★☆☆ review of The Matrix Resurrections, Nicholas Barber dams the trilogy's fourth instalment with the faintest praise.

'Tis the season to…recycle old fluff pieces
18 December 2021

How could anyone consider Dr Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and not Klaus, in a current shortlist of Chrimbletide animations? (confused)

17 December 2021

I've just backed my second Indiegogo comic campaign. And it's from yet another bête noir of the mainstream comics pros. This time it's Richard Meyer.

16 December 2021

UK theatres are warning that cancellations to pantomime shows, in the wake of Chongvirus Omicron, threaten their finances. No shit, who'd've thunk it? (thinking)

15 December 2021

Disney is to remake Zorro. Again. This time as a TV series. Again. Verily, there's a torrent of creativity gushing forth from the House of Mouse. (rolleyes)

'X' for Latina
13 December 2021

For some inexplicable reason, there's a remake of West Side Story, for anyone who considers the 1961 classic to be somehow inadequate. I wasn't aware that this was something that the world had been clamouring for. Neither were cinema audiences, it seems, who stayed away in droves when it debuted last weekend: Steven Spielberg's effort hasn't performed sensationally at the box office.

Sue-TS, you sir!
11 December 2021

Just to show that you can't keep a good copyright troll down, Sean Hall and Nathan Butler appealed against an earlier ruling that Taylor Swift had not plagiarised their work in the lyrics to Shake it Off, and that ruling has been overturned. The same judge who earlier dismissed the case, on the basis that the contentious phrases were too banal to be copyrightable, now states that there are significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure.

I'm a nonentity…get me some publicity!
25 November 2021

British TV host and journalist, Richard Madeley, fell ill on the set of reality TV programme, I'm a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! It certainly did get him out of there, his hospitalisation meant that he'd broken the set's COVID bubble, and it was therefore a one-way trip.

All of you
24 November 2021

Writing for BBC Worklife, Bryan Lufkin informs us as to Why more people are saying 'y'all'. For those of you who didn't know that they were, apparently they are. So there's something new that you've learned, and we've barely started!

It must be Thanksgiving
22 November 2021

To celebrate Thanksgiving, BBC Food asks me How much do you know about American food? And presents a handy-dandy little quiz, to check whether I'm lying or not.

Butt, officers…
10 November 2021

After Darrell Meekcom mooned a speed camera in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, he was surprised to be arrested, and wrestled to the ground, by no less than six police officers. Meekom suffers from a plethora of disablements, and uses a wheelchair. Most people would think that a single officer, or two since they like to go about in pairs, could've done the job well enough.

Bond theme songs
3 November 2021

Over the past couple of weeks, I haven't been able to get You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever out of my head. They seem to be stuck on repeat play. And that's not such a bad thing, I quite like them.

Imagine all the staffers
Dictating what you do*
1 November 2021

It's kinda touching, the naïvety in the create-space.

The write man for the job?
16 October 2021

It seems that, besides the purple prose, Tom King is also a douchebag.

5 October 2021

Asked by DC for his take on his new upcoming comic, The Human Target, author Tom King responded:

24 September 2021

Since backing Trent Kaniuga's CreeD RE:Imaginary, I found Billy Tucci and Maria Sanopo's Miss Fury: Joy Division. What are the odds? It's only $30. So, I thought, why not?

Comic timing
13 September 2021

I haven't bought or read a Marvel or DC comic since I was a kid, back in the '70s. I've neither had, nor shown, any real interest in comics for decades. So I don't understand why YouTube's algorithm should keep throwing up channels on the subject. And I don't understand why I click on the thumnails. Hey ho.

Comics for dummies
24 August 2021

Richard Meyer is an independent comic book writer, or artist, or both. Something like that. He has a YouTube channel in which he talks about comics. I don't know why YouTube throws this shit up at me, but it does.

3 August 2021

Sarah Brand's Red Dress is…a song. Of sorts. The accompanying video is…a thing.

24 July 2021

My eldest daughter asked me why I don't eat McDonalds'. I told her that, other than the food being shit, it's because I cannot abide Ronald McDonald. Which is true.

Nick Kamen, 'im done laundering
5 May 2021

Nick Kamen, model and singer, has died aged 59. He rose to fame in a 1985 commercial for Levi's 501s, in which he stripped to his underwear in a launderette to Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through The Grapevine. Although the advert was for Levi's jeans, I think it did as much for sales of boxer shorts as anything.

Product displacement
19 April 2021

Product placement is a reality of advertising in today's entertainment industry. It's become so everyday, that much of it passes us by, at least consciously. Occasionally, something comes along that's so unsubtle as to be almost aggressive; but, by and large, product placement goes unnoticed. That's probably when it's most effective, when it's subliminal; but I'm no marketing psychologist.

16 April 2021

I cannot, for the life of me, recall what made me do it, but just for laughs I watched Marvel's NEW WARRIORS trailer. Oh dear, it doesn't appear to be too popular; 5.9k upvotes to 283k downvotes. Eeeef.

Able was I
6 April 2021

Sara Nović, writing on behalf of BBC Equality Matters, admonishes you on The harmful ableist language you unknowingly use. You heartless bastard! (mad)

Another Fury, another cat
30 March 2021

Writing for BBC Culture, Nicholas Barber marks the imminent 80th anniversary of the introduction of the world's first great superheroine. No, not Wonder Woman, she arrived six months later; Miss Fury made her comic strip debut in April 1941. Not only was Miss Fury the first superheroine in print, but she was also the creation of, fittingly enough, a woman: June Tarpé Mills. In Mills's hands, Marla Drake, a New York socialite by day, becomes a Catwoman wannabe at night;* donning a magic leopardskin jumpsuit and bounding into action, as you do.

Justice is served!
17 March 2021

Zac Snyder's version of Justice League is finally upon us, with most critics agreeing that it's an improvement on the 2017 original, at least according to those reviews cited by the BBC. The original was infamously fucked up, sorry, reimagined by Joss Whedon, when he took over the production after Snyder's departure following a family tragedy. I have watched that version, described by one anonymous Warner Bros executive as a piece of shit. It was…okay, but let down by a muddled plot and an anticlimactic antagonist.

Changing lanes
11 March 2021

Only one day after accepting the role of translating Amanda Gorman's poem The Hill We Climb into Dutch, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld has stepped down over an outcry that they're not black. This is despite the fact that Gorman chose Rijneveld herself.

Rock star
8 March 2021

According to Leox Gyasi's entry in the Star Wars Databank: romantic and sexual encounters are not imperative to him, as he identifies as asexual. Nice and non-threatening then; so, not that IC1 male after all. I wonder whether he has any knackers, or if they were removed when he stepped through LucasFilm's hallowed portal?

Rock bottom
8 March 2021

I thought that the first of April had come early this year, as Star Wars: The High Republic introduced its main characters in an amateur-hour animation. Leox Gyasi—who looks suspiciously IC1 male to be completely on message at LucasFilm—is the eccentric pilot of a vessel, known simply as the Vessel…navigated by Geode, who appears to be a rock. The rising you gotta be shittin' me! tone in the narrator's voice sounded like she didn't quite believe what she was reading. I'll give her kudos for not laughing though.

8 March 2021

Apparently, the future of content creation lies in deepfake, the use of artificial intelligence to generate lifelike talking heads that, for all intents and purposes, cannot be distinguished from the real thing. In the case of at least one software system, the process is as simple as typing in the words for a selected avatar to speak. The whole concept is an ethical and cultural minefield, if not just plain creepy; and, as Donald Trump supposedly said of Jeffrey Epstein, I'm not a fan.

Goodbye MCU
28 December 2020

Iron Man and his MCU friends have been entertaining us since he first came to the screen in 2008—just don't mention either of Hulk's solo outings. For better or worse, some of those films have helped define the summer blockbuster. But, while Disney Marvel plans many more instalments of the franchise, I don't think I'll be following along.

Doctor Who cares?
3 December 2020

Many years ago, when I was a mere lad, I used to watch a children's TV sci-fi show, starring Jon Pertwee and then, later, Tom Baker. Unfortunately, it started going downhill after Baker's departure; or perhaps I'd just outgrown it. The last time I saw Doctor Who, albeit in passing, Sylvester McCoy was butchering the titular character. It was so bad that I couldn't watch it, and the show was put out of its misery shortly thereafter.

Time To Die
26 November 2020

There's some dismay on social media over the retirement of James Bond, in favour of a black woman, in the upcoming No Time To Die. And it's not just old white men that are offended by the retconning of a decades-old, beloved franchise character for the sake of progressivism and virtue signalling.

Picture imperfect
21 October 2020

If you desire a special commemoration of a beloved pet, acclaimed artist Hercule Van Wolfwinkle is your go-to portraitist. Just supply a photograph of the subject to be immortalised, and he'll supply the magic—availability notwithstanding, he's insanely popular and has a long wait-list. But it's not difficult to see why:

Creative reimagining
28 September 2020

OMG! It's almost as if Karolina Żebrowska was in the same room during Sandy Powell's creative reimagining sessions.

Bond, Jane Bond
21 September 2020

A little brouhaha over a woke 007 rumbled on the 'net a while ago, as Daniel Craig is expected to pass the baton to a black woman.

Disney Minus
6 September 2020

Reviews of Disney's live action remake of Mulan have been generally mixed to favourable. I like the story, and I was looking forward to this release. But…hnnng, I can't.

6 September 2020

A BBC report, on an outrageously pretentious 639 year-long performance of John Cage's composition, As Slow As Possible, which began in 2001 and will end in 2640, led me to an older article about a scam legal row between Cage and fellow composer Mike Batt. Batt had allegedly included a snippet of Cage's meisterwerk 4′33″ in his own, less obscurely entitled, A One Minute Silence.

Today I learned…
13 August 2020

…not to trust anything you see on the silver screen. Again.

A dog with no name
16 July 2020

RAF Scampton—the home of 617 Squadron, The Dambusters—has replaced the gravestone of the squadron's mascot, a black Labrador named Nigger, who died on the night of the famous raid on the Ruhr dams in 1943. Squadron Leader Guy Gibson, whose dog he was, named him because, at the time, nigger was not a derogatory reference, rather simply the name for a shade of black.

I'll make my own mind up…as long as it's alright with you
8 July 2020

As an advocate for freedom of speech, the cancel culture phenomenon repulses me. So I was heartened to read of a letter published in Harper's Magazine, signed by around 150 writers, academics, and activists, condemning cancel culture and the stifling of debate.

The One with the Comeback Sitcom
12 June 2020

Friends, the '90s TV show that made a supermegastar of Jennifer Aniston's hair, is making a big comeback on streaming. I have no idea why, I couldn't stand it the first time 'round. But, then again, I'm a miserable git.

26 November 2019

The First Men in the Moon (1919) is the first film to be based on H.G. Wells' 1901 novel of the same name. It is also, reputedly, the first full-length film to be based on a popular science fiction novel.

Fringe syndrome
19 August 2019

The results are in, and Tim Vine hasn't won the Dave award for best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe. In fact, he didn't make the top ten shortlist. Was he even there?

Plastic fantastic
19 June 2019

A worldwide singing and acting sensation for over 50 years, Cher was finally recognised by the Kennedy Center Honors last year. It's amazing that they were able to recognise her at all, after all that surgery…BA-DUM-TSCH!

Keeping mum
8 March 2019

The hand-wringing over whitewashing in Hollywood has taken a slightly more surreal turn when Will Smith is accused of not being black enough to play Richard Williams in a biopic.

28 February 2019

I can't recall how I got here, but Paddy McAloon, who is currently all of Prefab Sprout, was talking to BBC Newsnight for some reason or another. I was never a fan; other than Cars and Girls, which is a great song.

Reimagining history
24 February 2019

The BBC asked two experts to comment on whether The Favourite, a dramatisation of the later life of Queen Anne, is fact or fiction. On the subject of Sandy Powell's costume design, Matthew Storey observed that:

President Pooh
4 February 2019

Winnie the Pooh is one of my youngest daughter's favourite characters, so I don't know she would take it knowing that his name is censored on Chinese search engines and social media. Apparently, naughty people have been likening Christopher Robin's silly old bear to Chinese dictator President Xi Jinping, which is quite ridiculous since they look nothing like each other.

A funny thing really did happen on the way to the Fringe
20 August 2018

At last! Dave announced the award for the funniest joke at the Edinburgh Fringe, and it's not one of Tim Vine's groan-worthy attempts. I'd say Adam Rowe was a good choice among strong contenders: Working at the Jobcentre has to be a tense job - knowing that if you get fired, you still have to come in the next day.

Bring back the gimp suit!
19 June 2018

Not really being a comic book fan, I've been faintly amused when aficionados complain that the film treatment of their favourite character or story didn't live up to their expectations: In issue 39 of 1976, Dr Y held the skanzen in his left hand, but in the film he quite clearly held it in his RIGHT!

Who ya gonna call? Cardi, Cardi
She sounds like a 'tardi, 'tardi
23 April 2018

Rap and hip-hop music, you either love it or hate it. Or you're indifferent to it. I guess that covers all the bases.

Mary, Mary, on the contrary
13 March 2018

According to a new film, Mary Magdalene was not a fallen women redeemed by Christ; that was all made up by Pope Gregory I in 591. Instead, she has now been given a completely new, and likely just as fictitious, back story.

Playrz play'n, h8rz h8'n
15 February 2018

Taylor Swift has won her judgement in a copyright case over the lyrics to Shake it Off. Sean Hall and Nathan Butler argued that players gonna play and haters gonna hate borrowed from their own Playas Gon' Play. But Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald deemed the phrases too banal to be copyrightable.

Worst song ever?
12 May 2017

Rob Tannenbaum, writing for GQ, has declared Starship's We Built This City to be the worst song of all time. I'm not sure what objective criteria he used to arrive at this conclusion, but hey ho.

The benefit of losing?
18 June 2013

This throwaway comment about Matilda the Musical, in a round-up of post-Tony Awards Broadway takings, had me puzzled:

Art is in the eye of the beholder
24 August 2012

Cecilia Gimenez was so upset at the damage to a fresco in Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, Spain, that she decided to restore it herself.

Death of an artfag
16 August 2011

The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, has confirmed the death of Robert Breer. The American artist and pioneering film-maker was only 85. He had so much more to give.

No (bad) sex please, we're British
1 December 2009

Jonathan Littell has won the Bad Sex in Fiction prize for 2009, for his novel The Kindly Ones. This work of literary genius contains such rather pedestrian flights of sexual prose as This sex was watching at me, spying on me, like a Gorgon's head, and a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.

Happy birthday Hans Cristian Andersen
2 April 2005

If he were alive, Hans Christian Andersen would be 200 today. Happy birthday to the man who saw through the Emperor's new clothes.