Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Told You I Was Freaky - Flight of the Conchords

"Some people say that rappers don't have feelings. We have feelings," raps Brett McKenzie on the opening track of Flight of the Conchords' second album. Sounding vulnerable and miffed, he continues, "Some people say that we are not rappers," with colleague Jemaine Clement adding defiantly: "We're rappers. It hurts our feelings when you say we're not rappers." Read more...

Britain's Best Brain, Wednesday 8pm, Five

For viewers of a certain age, Britain's Best Brain will prove both exciting and depressing. Why? Because it reunites Zoë Ball and Jamie Theakston, the duo who presented Saturday morning children's show Live & Kicking in the '90s and, slightly less memorably, Channel 4's The Priory.

Zoë and Jamie were presumably paired up in the first place because next to either of them, anyone else would look like they were kneeling down, and it's comforting to see they're both still very tall. But, like the rest of us, they do look older. Sigh.

Anyway, the show. "This is not a quiz show," Theako tells us, proudly. It sort of is, really, but the challenges are all geared to test different parts of the brain – so it's not something you can revise for beforehand, unless you count gorging on fish and blueberries.

The studio audience greet the five contestants like they're heroes returning from war, despite the fact that, as in every show like this, they're just normal people with ages, jobs, and one anecdote each.

The first round has contestants trying to answer fairly simple maths questions while heavy metal plays in their ears and disembodied voices shout numbers at them, while staring at a screen of swirling integers. It's that sort of thing.

The parts you at home can take part in – the memory tests, say – are reasonably fun, but the ones you can't – like the one where you have to watch someone wrestling with an egg timer while they're whirled around in a giant gyroscope – aren't so much.

Meanwhile, BBB's slightly clinical approach – the challenges are "each scientifically designed to test a primary brain function", we're told – means it's quite hard to root for anyone; it seems to be reducing the idea of human endeavour to something more random. In summary, then: when's the Trev and Simon revival due?

by Will Parkhouse, Tuesday 27 October 200

Originally published on

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Slits and pieces

The Slits: a scary interview prospect indeed, what with them being 1) the original all-grrrl '76 punk band an' all that 2) responsible for one of the best cover versions ever 3) fronted by a singer whose stepdad is none other than Johnny Rotten and 4) one of only three artists to make the Goose funeral songs playlist.

But, of course, they turned out to be completely charming. The finished interview is over on The Quietus - and here are the pics I took after Ari and Tessa got all excited about a graffitied wall we happened to wander past.

Ari Up from The Slits

Tessa Pollitt from The Slits

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Oops, first post this month. It's important, that's why: I've come out of retirement for YOU, Stornoway, even though you are the most nervous and awkward band ever to have a microphone thrust face-wards, because 'Zorbing' is one of the songs of the year and YESYESYES now we have Britain's answer to The Hidden Cameras. IN YOUR FACE, JOEL GIBB.