January 14th, 2009

Football - Underhill

Silly Money...

I enjoy football (soccer for our New World cousins) but even I think that some of the wages being paid to footballers is silly.

If the below happens then it's truly a world gone mad...


Manchester City have opened talks with Italian side AC Milan over the transfer of their Brazilian playmaker Kaka.

A City delegation have met with their Milan counterparts and reportedly made a bid in the region of £100m, with a weekly wage of £500,000 for the player.


Half a milliion pounds a week!!!!

That's ignoring the £100m price tag to start with.

Man City in Talks Over Kaka Deal (BBC News; Wednesday 14th January 2009)

Right, well I'm off to do some chores before considering the 1pm screening of Slumdog Millionaire for this afternoons entertainment.


Old Friend

(Film) Slumdog Millionaire

I decided to go and see Slumdog Millionaire this afternoon. It was already on my 'To See' list and after winning four Golden Globes earlier this week (Including Best Picture and Best Director) I thought today was as good as any as I could go in the afternoon and avoid the crowds that will inevitably now fill the screenings in the evenings and weekends.

Well for starters, Danny Boyle is back on form. He's Directed some of my favourite films over the years (Trainspotting and 28 Days Later being the big two for me) but his last outting, Sunshine, I was really disappointed in. Slumdog Millionaire is a fantastic return to power and quite rightly deserves the praise and attention it's getting - be it in the form of reviews, awards or the fact that it's already #35 in IMDB's Top 250 Films!

The story is of Jamal Malik who is born into the poverty of the slums in Mumbai (Bombay) with his older brother (Salim) and mother. Eighteen years later he is a contestant on the Indian version of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' and the police and shows host suspect him of cheating his way to the top prize - the first time anyone on the show has won it, let alone an uneducated 'Slumdog'.

The film follows his life - which is seen through a series of short vignettes flashbacks - from a child to him becoming a contestant explaining how he came to know the answers of the various questions he has to answer on his way to becoming the shows possible first winner.

It tells a tale of poverty, gangland violence, betrayal, love and lost love.

I don't think many of the people who are seeing the film at the moment actually realise that it is kind of a very gritty, violent, gangster film in many places. It's certainly not all a safe, lighthearted romp through poverty and hardship to a happy ending. The trailer does alot to cover this up and I do think that some people maybe slightly surprised, or even shocked, at some of the scenes and footage in the film if they go in blind and expecting a different type of movie.

I won't go into detail of the film. That would spoil it for those of you who want to watch it at somepoint - and I would urge you to watch it at somepoint. Suffice to say that I loved this film. I thought it was really well done and am very pleased that it's getting a lot of recognition at present and will possibly be nominated for a number of Oscars on the 22nd when the shortlist is announced.

It is  a shame, in some ways, that it takes a British Director to help break Indian cinema out of Bollywood and onto our mainstream Multiplexes. Hopefully it will help open that door, and keep it open a while longer.

See this film.

I'm now off to buy the soundtrack...

School Report: A (Danny Boyle back at his best; Fantastic piece of cinema)


Manga Me

Astoria & LA2 RIP

The first gig I ever went to at the Astoria was in 1989. It was to see a rock band called 'Dare'  - who I think were supporting another band called Garrison, although they may have been headlining themselves. Without diving into a stack of old diaries (as opposed t my nice and easy Access spreadsheet :p) I'm not sure which way round they were on the bill - and not knowing, or remembering, much about Garrison it's hard for me to recall.

Anyway, over 19 years ago I first went to the Astoria for a gig. Over the best part of the following two decades I've been a frequent visitor to both the Astoria and her smaller sister venue a couple of doors down (who has so any name changes over the years but most recently has been known as the LA2 I believe).

Not only did I go to many gigs at both venues I also spent quite a few nights clubbing at both venues. The Astoria was home, back in the late 80's and early 90's, to Londons best Rock Club 'Rockscene' and I spent many Friday nights alternating between the Electric Ballroom's "Full Tilt Club" and "Rocksecene" before Rocksecene eventually closed in favour of The Pink Pounder, which became London's biggest Gay club and then transformed its name to simply G.A.Y years later.

LA2 has also been home to many different clubs that I attended. I remember by first being Buzbys - a Sunday night rock club which I kept missing the last train back from due to London Transports then silly early last train on Sunday evenings (about 11pm). Plus it was on a school night so missing the last train was even more annoying. Over the years I've been to other rock clubs there along with Indie and Goth clubs plus tons of great gigs.

Tonight The Astoria is playing host to it's last ever gig. Tomorrow night LA2 is closing its doors for good.

Both are being demolished to make way for London's Crossrail link.

So thank you Astoria and thank you LA2. Thank you for being part of my life for thye last twenty years and giving me some great memories.

You will both be missed.

In memory of you both I've listed the bands I've seen at both venues. Thanks to SteveGB for giving me that idea.

London will be poorer without you both.

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