Friday, March 18

David Brent, meet Michael Scott

I've been checking out the U.S. version of "The Office," which NBC has posted on a Web site ahead of its premiere next week. No's not good.

The first episode borrows liberally from the original show's infamous "Who Cares Wins" episode. An outside speaker is brought in to talk about diversity, and the David Brent character -- here called Michael Scott, played by Steve Carrell -- proceeds to highjack the proceedings.

Scott: Why don't we go around and say a race they're attracted to sexually.
Faux Gareth, aka Dwight: I have two -- White and Indian.

We eventually find out that the speaker was brought because a number of employees were offended at Scott's Chris Rock impersonation. Sound funny? It's not.

Dwight, played by the Rainn Wilson (the funeral house intern on 'Six Feet Under'), is mildly amusing. The 'Tim' and 'Dawn' characters don't have any chemistry going for them.

Scott manages to be absolutely horrible and repugnant, but he's missing that pathetic human quality that makes Ricky Gervais so hilarious -- proving once and for all that the funniest Steve on the Daily Show was always Colbert.

This show is going to bomb.

Let's take a moment to revisit the unbridled genius that was the original "Office":
(Outside speaker)Rowan: Gareth, quick test exercise: ultimate fantasy?
Gareth: Hmm?
David: We're just doing the ultimate fantasy, we're all doing it.
Gareth: Two lesbians probably: sisters. I'm just watching.

And here's the classic "Free Love Freeway" in mp3 format: Link. This epitomised "The Office", which was why this episode was my all-time favorite The coworkers actually bond over David Brent's overwrought, surprisingly well performed songs when he hijacks the training day after going home to get his guitar.

The U.S. version of "The Office" was never going to measure up. I always had a theory that David Brent was actually taking the piss out of Americans, so it's no surprise it didn't translate across the pond.

But at least we have "Extras" on the way.

Let's Not Fight

OK Beck, you dissed me in my backyard by failing to invite me to your secret show, but I ain't mad atcha. How could I be, when you turn in inspired weirdness like this video for "E-Pro", in which you:
  • battle skeletons with a shovel

  • climb skyscapers atop what can only be described as a red spider bicycle

  • detach your head and take a spin in a washing machine

The whole thing is a tripped-out nightmare. Could this be what Kelly was dreaming when she was singing this song in her sleep the other night??? dun dun DUN.

Also, check out the ASCII gone mad video for "Black Tambourine".

Thursday, March 17

"If doing coke while playing cards in an endless hall of mirrors isn't a PARTY I don't know what is."

Did Brian Eno Party? Yes. Yes he did.

Sex Doll Sparks Bomb Alert at Post Office

BERLIN (Reuters) - A blow-up sex doll sparked a bomb alert in a German post office after it started to vibrate inside a package awaiting delivery, police said Wednesday.

How alarming is it that the doll activated itself?!
via the ever-amusing Reuters Odd wire.

When the Going Gets Weird, Beck Goes E-Pro

How damn good is new Beck album, "Guero"? My wife woke me up singing the chorus to "E-Pro" last her sleep! You know you've got an earworm when your subsconcious is singing "NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH-NAH NAH NAH" at 3 in the morning .

The excellent remix EP -- done entirely with sounds from a Gameboy (see above picture) -- is out now on iTunes. The full album isn't officially out until the end of the month.

UPDATE -- I just found out that Beck played a surprise show on Monday night TWO FUCKING MINUTES FROM MY HOUSE!!! *bangs head repeatedly against desk*

UPDATE 2 -- This in an email from Kelly: "That is so not fair!!! Bad Beck...I'm not going to sing his songs in my sleep anymore."

Kids: Don't Do Drugs

I just got back from a top secret research mission on grey market PlayStation Portable sales, and I think there is a decent chance I am losing my mind.

It started when I was on Tottenham Court Road -- the epicentre of sketchy electronic gadget sales in London -- and I got a phone call from my doctor's office.

It was the receptionist asking me if I had lost the prescription that my doctor wrote for me last week.
I said no.
"Are you sure?" No, again.
"Well, I'm pretty sure you have, because we just got a call from the Next shop by Chancery Lane (where I had just walked past half an hour before) and they've got it."

It must have fallen out of my pocket and blown in their front door, and they called my doctor's number which was on the prescription.

It was a million to one shot, doc!

Then -- because of course there's more -- I stopped to buy a folding
chair at a place on on Tottenham Court so everyone would have a seat for a dinner party Kelly and I were throwing the next night. I was walking into
these electronic shops with this chair under my arm, asking if they
were selling the PSP. I finally found a place selling them literally
under the counter, got some quotes, and it was all good -- except when
I walked out the door I realised I didn't have the fucking chair!

I had to retrace my steps through every shop, and 20 minutes later found the chair leaning against a building where I had stopped to tie my shoe! A thousand people must have walked past it.

So tell it to me straight: is it possible that I've fried a few too many synapses? And, more importantly, if I am mentally deranged, does that mean I'm justified in spending £300 on a PSP?

he's baaaaaack

Due to overwhelming popular demand -- thanks Siobhan! -- I'm going to give this blog business another whirl, with a new name that may or may not stick.

There will just be a few tasty nuggets before New Zealand, where Kelly, Dan and Amos, Ryan and I will be driving around in this:

plummeting downwards toward glaciers like this:

paddling from beach to beach like this:

and, if we have the time to find a charter boat, sailing around with the aforementioned crew plus my Mom in the Bay of Islands.

I'll try to post some pictures from NZ, and I'll be back in London the first week of April.