Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mainstream madness

David Cameron is known for his political hyperbole and love of the soundbite but his comment today that UK film needs to be more mainstream had me worried. The big chief himself is turning his eye towards an industry he has little to no understanding of and also one that I happen to like.

Worse still here he was making misguided and poorly thought out generalisations about it. It is hardly a secret that it is notoriously hard to tell what film productions will turn a profit. Many Hollywood films make spectacular losses despite the mainstream appeal.

I’m far from the only one to be riled by the PM’s comments, veteran indy film-maker Ken Loach has vociferously argued against the idea and the twittersphere has exploded with suggestions of Cameron themed film names as a result.

Let’s make no mistake - the Conservative government has had it in for the arts since they got their hands on the country. Jeremy Hunt the culture secretary has been hacking away at the BBC for the past year or so and has overseen the abolition of the UK Film Council; The quango that gave us the multi-Oscar winning The Kings Speech, which is one of the highest grossing UK films to date.

The fact remains the British film industry has been a triumph over the past couple of years turning out several high grossing and well made films.

To think under Cameron’s vision we would have traded in great non-mainstream films such as Attack the Block, Looking for Eric, Touching the Void, This is England and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - to name a few- for pap like Love Actually.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Fabulous Blokey Bloke Brothers

The boys often compete against each other. This battle is to see who can be the biggest windswept douche

I really didn’t know what to think about the Fabulous Baker Brothers. At first I was a little dismayed that here was yet another cooking show; one that no one asked for and worse, one that didn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table.

We’ve seen it all before, a chef or two hovering around a perfectionist’s cavernous kitchen that you could never in your life afford. That’s right look at the beautiful and fashionable kitchen and weep. Look at the delicious food they’re making in it! You could never cook that, unless of course you watch every week, check the website, buy the book and then maybe after a couple of decades you could make something minutely close to this. You really are rubbish without this show!

So, what is (or should that be ‘are’) the Fabulous Baker Brothers. The first impression is that the females of Britain now have their own Nigella Lawson-style food porn show. And by lord! There must have been a fantastic January sale on at the food porn show wholesaler as they got two for the price of one. The lads make all manner of comfort food such as sticky chocolate doughnuts, home-made chip butties and other food that is probably ‘too naughty’ for the January dieters, that I’m sure will have the ladies drooling – that is if the boys themselves haven’t achieved that themselves with all their hair swooshing and doughnut fisting.

This sandwich will make you feel like an inadequate man  
Despite this however, the audience that the guys are attempting – or pretending at least – to appeal to is the average bloke, not least because they keep saying how blokey they are. Nevermore is this the case when the boys go head to head in their ‘weekly Pie Wars’. This honestly couldn’t be more blokey then if it tried to swill beer, whilst at a football match in an action movie. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s a genuinely good way to capture the heart of the cooking man; we all love a good pie deep down.

However, there is a problem. It feels like it is too much. For all their fopping around going after the male audience, it is the females who will probably get the most from this, as men despite their love of attacking huge steak sandwiches with axes and constructing massive meaty pies, are a catty, insecure and jealous bunch and may soon tire of their charming – to the ladies - kerfuffle. Still the show on merit is actually quite good and the food they make is worth trying at home so perhaps the Baker Brothers (their last name is really Herbert, but then The Fabulous Herbert Brothers does sound a little bit gay) manage to man-wrestle their way into the hearts of the public after all? I guess if the public can learn to love Gordon Ramsey, then I’m sure we can tolerate these baking bastards.