On the Ken Bruce Society Facebook page, everyone likes a moan when someone is standing in for Ken.
It’s just not as good.
But it’s easy to criticize.
Ken makes it sound easy. Off the top of my head, here’s some of the things he’s got to do in the fifteen minutes between 1030 and 1045:
Make each contestant feel at ease and react appropriately to their faintly dull celebrity encounter; excruciatingly normal job or recent bereavement in a way that doesn’t sound too derisory despite the pressing need to get on with the quiz.
Ask the right questions.
Pronounce everything properly.
Immediately know whether a given answer is right or wrong.
React appropriately (i.e. giving extra praise for a very good answer – this is one of the things that makes him better than all the stand-ins).
Know when a half answer merits a point (this is a subtle skill and again Ken does it better than all the stand-ins – his own massive pop knowledge helps him make the call)
Listen to the producer in his ear for corrections or borderline decisions. (without breaking the flow).
Give people a fraction more of a moment to get an answer out if they’re not doing well (he is GREAT at this).
Play the right clips.
Remember to give the correct answer for listeners EVERY TIME after a contestant gets it wrong.
Rephrase a not-so-well-written question in a better way.
Be alert to cheating – and speed up accordingly.
Remember the contestants’ names (and where they’re from).
Sell the BBC tie-in with whatever question demands it.
Convince the listener he’s enjoying this. I mean, he obviously does, but there must be some days where he can’t love it quite as much and still he projects total positive sincerity about the quiz EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Keep the pace just right so the quiz finishes at 1045, not 1043 or 1048
And probably loads more.
Anyone can push buttons but fewer can present Popmaster properly.
Whoa! Aliens have invaded Planet Earth, have taken over, are running the whole thing… AND YOU DIDN’T EVEN REALISE IT
This is the concept of ‘They Live’ which stars wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper who uncovers the aliens and then faces a race to save his life.
This happens when he accidentally puts on some sunglasses which show the world for what it truly is: a shitshow run by intergalactic freaks who control your mind every day:
It turns out EVERYTHING has a hidden subliminal but then THEY know that he knows:
Then there’s a top class fight where Roddy Piper forces the other bloke to wear the shades
Look, even if you don’t watch the movie – watch the fight scene:
I don’t even like fight scenes, but this is good. It’s also epic, as in long – over 5 minutes. This post explains why the fight is so long.
Are you trying to say you don’t like dancing penguins?
In lots of ways, They Live is slightly shite – it’s essentially a B-Movie, but I watched it again a couple of years ago after a long time and it’s still compelling and great and it’s one of those films that you are constantly reminded of by the real world.
Definitely the greatest film ever made. It’s got a pounding soundtrack, hippies who appear to live wild in New York City, life death, babies and LSD trips mixed up with the Hare Krishna tribe.
I think I watched this once a month during 1994 which is when my group of friends discovered this movie that by then was already a relic.
I was too young to be a 1970s hippy but I’d been vaguely fascinated with this subculture before. My favourite character out of ‘The Young Ones’ was Neil and what teenager doesn’t want to be Danny out of ‘Withnail And I’?
But this American film gave a new spin to my understanding of 70s hippies: they could also be cool, blag their way into high-society parties and execute some pretty nifty pre-rehearsed song-and-dance routines.
The film evolved from an earlier stage musical. Apparently the musical’s writers thought the film wasted the original story and was a poor adaptation but I’ve seen a stage production and it was tedious compared to this grand entertainment.
Watch it but don’t ask for it to make much sense at all until it gets near the end and suddenly there is a real and possibly fatal human drama on top of all the sexy foolery of the last hour.
If the movie didn’t thump you with big emotions at the end it would probably be worth a single watch. But the heartbreak keeps me coming back, as do the songs and the mad set pieces.
The horse ride in the park for the song ‘Sodomy’
The bit where Woof won’t have his hair cut for a short spell in jail and is subsequently interrogated to find out if he is gay. He sings his way out of trouble, of course:
There’s load more but you have to watch the film. It’s the greatest film ever made and I fear that I have left no room to improve for my top 3. I’m gonna have to think hard to come up with something for next week.
It was Valentine’s Day last night (at both quizzes).
Valentine’s is always a weird night. There are couples who never go out with each other and have no idea what to do. They are awkward.
Some of the groups of single people are awkward. Awkwardness hangs in the air like Lynx Africa.
This was more true at the Newsroom, being a city centre venue. The Argyle was quieter as the romantic pairs were probably all in Salvatore’s instead. We’ll never know. It was certainly more relaxed and that’s why I went for the ROSES ARE RED contest there.
Simple instructions: write a four line poem where the first line is “Roses are red”.
Here are the results.
Roses are red
Violets are too
And fucking hate poetry.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I have a knife
Get in the van
Roses are red
Love is dead
Maddy McCann’s skin
Covers my shed.
Roses are red,
May is absurd.
They want to leave the EU,
But you can’t polish a turd.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Poetry is dead,
And so are U2.
Roses are red
My baws are blue.
My gooch is broken,
My sex life is too.
There you go. These works were all written in the space of a few minutes. See how easy it goes? You too can be a great artsit.
Pretty much the greatest film ever made. Did I say that last week? Of course I did. But this is better.
This is one of a handful of films that I paid money to see at a cinema twice.
When I watched this in 2004 I was amazed, knew the missus had to see it, so I took her and saw it again the very next day. I don’t think she liked it as much as I did.
Wes Anderson has probably made “better” movies. I saw ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ and ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ and I remember thinking at the time that both were better than Life Aquatic but Life Aquatic still remains in my head in a way that the others haven’t.
Mind you, it was probably the first Wes Anderson film I’d seen so I hadn’t become jaded about the style which, admittedly, gets slightly samey the more of his movies you watch.
One thing that makes the film stick is the music. You’ve got the guy doing the Bowie songs in Portuguese and that’s pretty cool but it’s the Mark Mothersbaugh electronic soundtrack stuff that proper got me and still rocks me.
The film is basically a father-son drama (which so many of Anderson’s films are) but, under Bill Murray’s reign as king of his own boat, there is a special, believable madness which draws you in and an attractive disregard for real geography, and real oceanography.
Here is a tour of the boat:
The film is so utterly and obviously completely made-up, but equally feels just about real and possible and you end up sympathizing with nearly everyone in the film. There are no real heroes or villains, everyone is suffering one way or another.
Owen Wilson feels, for once, that he’s not just playing Owen Wilson. All the casting is perfect. It’s a film that makes you wish you were part of the team in the film, in this case the crew of the Belafonte… which is the opposite of last week’s film Das Boot where every fibre of your viewer’s body makes you glad you are NOT part of the crew.
Anyway – you’ll be weeping tonight if you miss the quiz. Also, with one day to Valentine’s – maybe tonight is the night you will meet the human of your dreams. All you have to do is be bright and witty at the quiz. It’s like a magnet.
This is Monday. The start of something big. Or just bloody half-term, if you have kids.
Don’t have kids? See people looking frazzled? Wondering what the problem is? It’s half-term.
Anyway, that’ not important. What IS important is the quiz,
Here’s the cheat music for tonight’s quiz at the Safari. It’s one of my own favourite acts, The Pixies.
I couldn’t find a decent video, so it’s just music. Worth a listen though.
So it’s minimum jackpots at the quizzes tonight but come along anyway. Your knowledge, wit and good looks may be enough to snare a lover. It is, after all, Valentine‘s week – and in those few days leading up to the 14th, some single people get just a little more desperate.
But there are plenty of others who couldn’t care less, so don’t make assumptions. Just be yourself.
Still reading? Follow me on crazy stupid TWITTER, or even check the perfectly nice Instagram
Well, we have a rollover at the Brass Monkey Leith, a rare pleasure. Come and get your filthy grubby hands all over the £100 and then piss it up the wall or save it. I don’t mind which.
Well done to the Speckies who took the slightly large pot at the Safari last week which means we are back to basics in Abbeyhill tonight, as if there were any other way.
The cheat music for tonight’s quiz at the Brass Monkey Leith. It’s the Byrds who existed in the 1960s and, without looking up Wikipedia, I’ll guess that exactly half of them are now dead. I’ll look it up while you’re watching the video:
Right, there are five of them, so the prediction of half is going to be wrong.
The video is from 1965, so from that line up THREE are alive and TWO are dead. The dead ones have almost identical surnames: Clark and Clarke. I don’t think this is significant.
Anyway, they are 40% dead and 60% alive. Nice going.