Every now again I get a weekend that shouts “Aren't you glad you came here ?”, and this weekend was just such an example.
After a fairly intense Friday night pub engagement at the Lockside Lounge to farewell Funkdancing Paul Bird from his place of work (and aided by that finest of the Cooper family's products, Sparkling Ale!), and a trip to the mysterious purveyor of greasy post-booze comestibles known as The Woody Grill, a perilously late start greeted me on Saturday.
Saturday night Paul, Em, HC, Malinda and I made our way down to the Institute for Contemporary Art (referred to as the ICA, which is probably funny for anyone who grew up in Adelaide in the 80's – where ICA was a generic term for “place where you play indoor cricket”). We were there for a preview screening of the newest film by Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, et al: Hot Fuzz.
The plot centres around hotshot London police officer Nick Angel (Pegg) and his transfer to the English countryside, and his coming to grips with the change of pace, methods and attitude against what he's accustomed to. Of course rural living still has its sinister goings on, and Angel picks up the case.
I thought Shaun of the Dead was a hilarious, well made film with well developed characters, an interesting scenario & plotline, and top performances by brilliant actors, and I wasn't all that convinced that Wright & Pegg could top it, however I'm happy to say that they've done just that, and I'd definitely recommend Hot Fuzz to anyone who enjoys comedy or action films. It had me giggling like a loon.
Immediately following that was a Q&A session with Wright, Pegg & Frost – it never fails to amaze me at how when you get a group of people they're unable to recognise that someone else is saying the exact same thing as they are, in this case resulting in about half of the questions being various permutations of “So what are you going to do next?” and “What are your favourite films?”. I got my star-contact moment in the corridor on the way to the bar, where I made eye contact with Simon Pegg walking the other way and said “Bloody excellent”, and he nodded and said “Thanks”. Oh yeah, brushes with fame.
Sunday following a diabolically unhealthy cholesterol-fest breakfast, The Puzzler, Paul & I went up to East Finchley for a cinema screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was a really good print of the film, in a cosy little independent cinema, and it was good to be with an on-side audience because there was much giggling going on – often difficult to gauge what's going to happen when you're at a film that everyone there's seen a thousand times.
Following the film was a Q&A session with…. MICHAEL PALIN! Yes siree Bob, we got to see an original Python in the flesh! That's another life's dream realised right there.
There were less detailed lunatic anorak type questions from the crowd than I expected (although there was one), and there was the usual “Are the remaining Pythons ever going to get back together ?” type stuff – realistically, if they were then they're not going to announce it at a fundraising film screening in East Finchley – but I suppose I can't point too many fingers, cos it's not like I could think of a question.
Palin read some of the early draft stuff from the Holy Grail script, and was intending to read some excerpts from his newly published diaries however he thought he'd bored us all with script readings so we just focussed on questions. I suspect something I'd like to know more about would be the interview between Palin, Cleese, Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood following the release of The Life Of Brian, but really I'd be more interested in actually seeing the interview footage.
There wasn't much photo opportunity unfortunately, but I think we left feeling more than satisfied that we'd gotten what we came for.
I managed to get a photo of the back of his head – clearly and obviously identifiable I think – whilst he was being accosted by that anorak question guy, who had (for reasons of his own) asked Palin to autograph a small inflatable doll.
Rounding out the weekend was a trip in to Mean Fiddler to see New York's premiere lesbian Led Zeppelin cover band – Lez Zeppelin. We made it there in time to see the support act – Auge Bang – who were actually quite a tight hard rockin outfit, although their lead singer was the turd on the birthday cake.
Lez Zep rocked out fairly capably – they weren't *excellent*, but it was a pretty good go at it. I was a little surprised at some of the songs they picked, given that their talent wasn't exactly stellar. I'm not saying that they were BAD, but you just don't take Moby Dick (the centrepiece of which being the mighty thunderous brilliance of John Henry Bonham) and give it to a “capable” drummer.
At the end of the day, if I'd stayed home I probably would've listened to that exact music anyway, so it was a bit of a plus.
As you can see, my phone-cam photos don't particularly capture the moment. I was rather pleased to find that there was a resolution setting I could crank up to a “High Quality” level, but all it appears to have done is substitute blurry photos for high resolution blurry photos.