On the downside, it was a 70-minute show. (Minus fairly big ads.) The 10-15 minutes of wrap-up afterwards weren't so bad; arty shots and a highlight reel. Understandable enough and, yes, welcome repetition. The half-hour beforehand behind the scenes... well, it was interesting in its way, but I think people just wanted to get on and see the running and jumping. green_amber talks about it far more entertainingly and emotively than I do, but do look out for a repeat. Very good indeed, but it felt a little like a Christmas special four and a half months ahead in the schedules.
76 attended the Gamers Club last night. One item which added interest was that upstairs in the same building, the Tyneside Stop the War Coalition were holding a public meeting with the famously anti-war MP George Galloway. Some extra signs appeared on the ground floor this evening, reading "<- <- <- <- <- WAR GAMING - COME AND KILL BADDIES". Words were had. I know who was responsible and still like them a lot, but I was distinctly unimpressed with the stunt and only hope we don't get into trouble as a consequence.
I went to see Blackball at the cinema this morning. (The before-noon ticket prices have risen from their original £2.50 to £2.95 now; my demand for cinema tickets is less elastic than I had realised.) It's an utterly formulaic sport comedy based around the premise that lawn bowls is an old man's sport. It's not likely to be shown outside Britain and places with big expat British communities simply because it needs a fair bit of British cultural knowledge to recognise how and why everything is played completely to type and utterly predictable. I could explain, but if you have to explain, it's not funny.
The storyline is completely token to go from set-piece to set-piece; the actors' Cornish accents (noting that Torquay is in Devon) are not only corny but a bit wobbly. The class-war and love interest twists offer nothing remarkable at all and there are a few too many gaps between gags. The pacing is fine in that the funniest part is at the end: the overblown self-parodying made-for-TV prime time bowls special, hosted by The Ugly Overblown Self-Parodying One From The Armando Ianucci Comedy Shows, supported by Angus Loughran as himself, playing himself. (Can you guess the funniest, second most obvious fragment of sports commentary possible to end the show with? They use it.) Last summer's Mike Bassett England Manager had sillier laughs, but if you too are a sucker for sports comedy films then you'll find this entirely adequate and competently executed. However, it offers so few surprises that it's utterly forgettable and would deserve a shade below half marks.
Happy birthday to one of the mrstrellis collective for the 10th, and I wish the world (especially those in the Five Boroughs) a safe and peaceful 11th.