Friday, August 05, 2005

More Friday Fumblings

I've been trying out Google's new maps, still in beta phase. They're quite impressive, particularly the ability to access satellite images free of charge. The only disappointment was that satellite images for my village were not available at a large enough scale to be of much interest. I was looking forward to a view of my patio from outer space.

But a very weird thing happened after I'd been into Google maps. The news photos on AOL's home page were all replaced with maps of my village. For a brief but terrifying moment I found myself reading a caption about terrorist bombs, illustrated by a map of my street.
Clearly the boys at Google need to do more work on software conflicts.


Last night's Extras was a slight improvement on the previous two but it still doesn't really do the business for me.
I was puzzled by the scene in which Ricky Gervais's character pretends to be a Catholic and attends a Prayer Meeting in a bare church hall.
A Catholic Prayer Meeting?? I've never heard of such a thing. Admittedly, the last time I went near a Catholic Church wasn't that long after I stopped believing in Father Christmas. So I suppose it's just possible that there are a few Catholics who have started behaving like a fringe Evangelical group and sitting in a circle reading passages from the Bible. But it's equally possible that there was a serious failure on the research front.

Tonight's repeat of Peter Kay's spoof docs (C4, 11.10) is my personal favourite, the one about Britain's oldest paper boy, Leonard De Thomkinson.
It's a beautifully observed piece about the kind of eccentric character that exists in every neighbourhood, the kind of person who is universally known and tolerated but not particularly liked. And the writing lifts it above the average by bringing out the contradictions in the character. He's a religious maniac with a love of dirty jokes. And one of the neighbours memorably says something like: 'He's everybody's friend.........but he hasn't actually got any friends."

The Guardian mistakenly referred to Aristotle Onassis as "the shopping magnate" instead of "the shipping magnate".
I can't help wondering if Jackie Kennedy made the same mistake.
That might explain why she found the old gargoyle such a marital magnet.


At 3:55 PM, Blogger cello said...

Quite. As an ex-Catholic myself that scene was much more redolent of a Baptist or Presbyterian community. In my experience, you are much more likely to get an evening of bingo or whiskey-tasting in a Catholic Church Hall.

But - come on now Willie - Extras was really excellent last night. Even Nancy thinks so.

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

For once, I'm not wholly in agreement with Nancy. While deadheading just now I was trying to figure out why it doesn't make me laugh.
One reason is that it never surprises me, which good comedy should do. Green Wing was always totally unpredictable, especially when Sue White was on screen.
Like an old episode of Thunderbirds, you can always see the strings.
Also, every episode is a variation on the same themes: big star plays an exaggerated version of themselves; Ricky Gervais tries to get a line; Ricky Gervais is David Brent continued by other means and makes tactless remarks about people with disabilities, Catholics, etc. etc.
Finally, I need to like comics in order to laugh at them and even despicable comedy characters can be likeable at another level. But for me that's not the case with Gervais/Brent/Millman.
But that's too much analysis for something that ultimately defies analysis.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

PS glad you agree about the Catholic thing. One of the saving graces of Catholics was that they seldom talked about religion outside the ritual of the Mass.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Wyndham said...

Not as good as the old Laurely and Hardy joke though:

Olly: "He's an oil magnate, you know what that is, don't you?"

Stan: "I thing that eats cheese,"

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Wyndham said...

I meant, of course, "A thing that eats cheese." I was too hasty to share that hilarious joke.

At 5:05 PM, Anonymous asta said...

Sadly, there is little corner of Catholicism known as the Charismatics-- prayer group, rapture seeking, hands in the air wanna-be Pentacostals.
I lost a good friend to this looniness.

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Thanks, Wyndham. It could almost be a Bush-ism.

asta, now you mention it, I have heard of the charismatics. All that hands in the air stuff....aarrgh!


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