Thursday 21 February 2008

Russell Howard

Last night we took a trip over to Ipswich to see Russell Howard at the Corn Exchange, part of his sell out UK tour. What a fantastic comedian he is. He clearly enjoys what he does, you can tell that by his bouncy happy delivery. On stage he is quite an animated character. He makes it all look so effortless.

I often attend our local comedy club, where his 6Music sidekick Jon Richardson recently performed, but Russell is now in the big boys league. I was in tears for large parts of the performance, something that hasn’t happened since I saw Billy Connolly many years ago. In fact I think Russell has the potential to be as big as Billy.

If you get a chance do go and see him, you will not be disappointed!

Friday 15 February 2008

No country for any men

I went to the pictures last night to see the latest Coen brother’s film, No Country For Old Men. If you are planning to go to and see it I’ll try not to spoil it for you, apart from to say that I think it has the highest body count of any of their films. If you’ve seen any of their films, apart from Oh Brother Where Art Thou, you’ll know that slaughter is their ‘stock in trade’. Tommy Lee Jones plays a blinding role, as he always does; Fantastic actor. And they have excelled themselves with the guy that could well be described as the main character; Joel and Ethan seem to celebrate the odd looking people of this world, and they have triumphed again with this ‘gink’ played by Javier Bardem. There is also a rather strange part played by Woody Harrelson.

Javier Bardem

All in all it’s a great film; A romp in blood and guts, so to speak. As long as you are not too squeamish I’d recommend you go and see it. At just over two hours it’s a marathon, but you’ll never get bored as whenever you think you know what is coming next you will invariably be proved wrong. Expect the unexpected.

Wednesday 6 February 2008

Two for the price of three anyone?

There are some worrying noises coming out of the government at the moment on the subject of alcohol. The latest is about a crackdown on youngsters drinking in the streets; an interesting diversion from the usual binge drinking argument. The governmental solution would seem to be up the duty to such a rate that people can’t afford to get drunk. I also suspect that there are a few that would happily ban drink all together, although I don’t see prohibition being introduced here.

According to the BBC, “the home secretary is also demanding that drink manufacturers do more to stop alcohol being sold to under-18s”.

Apart from the drinks industry pumping money into advertising/education about drinks awareness I’m not sure what effective measures they could take. As an industry they could get together and agree to up the price of alcohol, but that would constitute a cartel, which is of course illegal.

Whilst some off-licences, pubs and clubs are no doubt guilty of promoting ‘binge drinking’ with promotions of various sorts, by far the biggest culprit in the cheap booze stakes is the supermarkets. When they are selling lager or cider at less than the price of bottled water you know there is a problem. Alcohol has never been as cheap in living memory as it is now, I’m sure. If duty goes up supermarkets will still continue to be cheap in relative terms. I’m a great believer in the nanny-state, so for me the answer would be for the government to set minimum prices for all alcohol wherever it was sold. For example if beer and cider had a minimum price of around £2.00 per pint it might well slow people down a bit. As would comparable prices for wine and spirits. A fair price for alcohol would be so much better than the extremes we live with now. A radical idea, and for all I know currently illegal under EU law. But an idea that’s less crazy than a duty hike. Discuss.