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All the London Comedy Happenings You Need to Know for November 2017

Apart from the royal family and our obsession with competitive cake making, us Brits are known around the world for our sense of humour. All over London, people are attempting to put our national talent to good use, so why not join them because you’ve got to laugh, right? Events Now is the time that the UK’s top comedians get out on the road—often with a TV crew in tow—to film an obligatory holiday standup DVD. Jimmy Carr is no exception and is offering a “selection of his very best jokes along with brand new material for the ultimate comedy show,” so book now. You can also see Carr in a more intimate setting as he chats to philosopher and novelist Alain De Botton on Nov. 6. Jokes aside, they’ll be delving into what comedy is for and the emotional benefits of laughing. (Tickets: £30) Also on the road is cheeky,
See full article at Backstage »

Cannes Film Review: ‘Directions’

Popular philosopher Alain de Botton once propounded the theory that road rage is the result of an overly optimistic nature: The pessimist expects traffic to be terrible and other drivers to be idiots, and so doesn’t experience the same outbursts of frustration and despair as the optimist. Bulgarian director Stephan Komanderev’s largely road-bound “Directions,” an ensemble drama of vignettes that explores the fissures and crevices in modern Bulgarian society through a series of taxi rides, might well have been founded on this counterintuitive principle. Indeed at one point a character remarks offhandedly: “Bulgaria is a country of optimists. All the pessimists and realists left long ago.” Yet for a place full of optimists, there sure is a lot of trauma around — suicide, ill health, economic desolation, political disenchantment, social stratification — all of which Komandarev’s clever, fleet-footed film observes with poignant accuracy and flashes of wry humor.

Surprisingly,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Grayson Perry’s Dream House: a secular chapel to the Essex everywoman

‘This is the flat, brown, rural and ordinary Essex, a place entirely at odds with the myth of the high-gloss what-do-you-call-an-Essex-Girl’

“What I like about this site,” says Grayson Perry as he surveys a scrappy bit of land in Wrabness, north-east Essex, “is they wouldn’t film Towie here.” Flagrant structured-reality slander aside, the largely excellent Grayson Perry’s Dream House follows the process of building a fully habitable and rentable house to Grayson’s artistic specifications, as commissioned by Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture project (but don’t let that put you off).

The house is a monument to what Grayson calls “thwarted female intelligence”: an “ornate, terracotta covered temple” sacred to the memory of an imagined Essex everywoman, Julie May Cope (geddit?). Julie, Grayson tells us, was born in Canvey Island in 1953, and was raised in social housing, moving upwards and outwards in more ways than one before her eventual death,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

20,000 Days on Earth documentary review: how to make art and live life

An unclassifably weird hybrid of documentary, fiction, and stream-of-consciousness meditation on the creative life, according to Renaissance man Nick Cave. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I’m not a particular fan of unclassifiably weird musician-Renaissance man Nick Cave: I’ve always liked his stuff when I’ve stumbled across it, but I’ve never particularly sought it out, and I’m certainly not in a league with the fans in the grip of religious Cave ecstasy we glimpse here. But if my experience is any guide, you don’t need to be that sort of Cave fan to find yourself utterly riveted by the unclassifably weird 20,000 Days on Earth, a deliciously odd hybrid of documentary, fiction, and stream-of-consciousness meditation on the creative process and living a creative life, according to Nick Cave.
See full article at FlickFilosopher »

The News: A User's Manual by Alain de Botton – review

Alain de Botton's ideas about what constitutes the news are stimulating and infuriating in equal measure

The anxious question journalists ask themselves every morning seems simple enough, but is often devilishly difficult: What is newsworthy? (And where the hell can I find enough of it to fill page one?) Alain de Botton, staging yet another of his philosophical firework displays, asks a rather different question. Here is a construct he calls The News. What is it, and does obsessing over it do us any good? Enter Hegel, Tolstoy, Sophocles and Wh Auden, among many others, expert witnesses in his diverting, often infuriating quest to pin down the reasons why we dutifully switch on a radio at one or a TV at six in order to be told that This (or That) is The News.

Diverting? Of course. De Botton fizzes with ideas. A Teesside doctor downloads more than 1,300 child porn images,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

An Oversimplification of Her Beauty – review

Not a square millimetre of the director's navel is left ungazed at in Terence Nance's film of interviews with a beautiful woman he loves

Terence Nance's An Oversimplification of Her Beauty is an almost unendurably self-indulgent and burbling piece of lo-fi indie-autobiographical moviemaking, at the end of which there is surely not a square millimetre of the director's navel left ungazed at. Yet at the same time, there is something oddly revealing about it. It is developed from an earlier short film about the director's relationship issues with a certain beautiful woman, whom he prevails upon to appear on camera. Part of that short is incorporated into this longer feature in which personal issues are developed in a stream of droning voiceover babble. Nance's movie folds in on itself as he interviews the object of his affections, and discusses with her how she felt about the original short film,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Ozymandian celebs | @guardianletters

Though there may be something to be said for Alain de Botton's suggestions for the usefulness of celebrities (Why sneer at celebrity?, 1 February), deeper thought suggests that the idea of individuals to "look up to" is comparatively recent in our human story – a few thousand years at most – and was imposed by psychopaths through conquest, violence, torture and intimidation. As Shelley suggests in Ozymandias, the desire to see one's image writ large and wide, and to wallow in that propagation, is a form of insanity. The men and women who think and do the fine things Alain rightly commends are, on the whole, anonymous while they live and forgotten when they die. Which is as it should be. Leaders (the top-ranking celebrities) in times past and present are, on all sides, often solely responsible for the massacre and suffering of millions. This is why true democracy is so important
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Arts 2014 preview: talking points

  • The Guardian - TV News
What more has Courtney Love possibly got to share with us, and how will Steve McQueen fare at the Oscars? These are just a few of the topics that will set tongues wagging in the new year

Pop

Courtney Love's memoir

The question is not so much "what will be in Courtney Love's book?" as "what could possibly be in Courtney Love's book that she hasn't already spoken/ranted/raved about?" Still, her self-titled autobiography has been described as "too crazy not to be true" and should provide her definitive take on her time with Hole and her doomed relationship with Kurt Cobain. It will also, hopefully, spill previously unspilled beans on her relationships with Billy Corgan and Steve Coogan. Oh, and according to an interview she did with Rolling Stone, it was inspired by Russell Brand's My Booky Wook. The mind boggles. Tj

Everything to
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Arts 2014 preview: talking points

  • The Guardian - Film News
What more has Courtney Love possibly got to share with us, and how will Steve McQueen fare at the Oscars? These are just a few of the topics that will set tongues wagging in the new year

Pop

Courtney Love's memoir

The question is not so much "what will be in Courtney Love's book?" as "what could possibly be in Courtney Love's book that she hasn't already spoken/ranted/raved about?" Still, her self-titled autobiography has been described as "too crazy not to be true" and should provide her definitive take on her time with Hole and her doomed relationship with Kurt Cobain. It will also, hopefully, spill previously unspilled beans on her relationships with Billy Corgan and Steve Coogan. Oh, and according to an interview she did with Rolling Stone, it was inspired by Russell Brand's My Booky Wook. The mind boggles. Tj

Everything to
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Submarine author Joe Dunthorne maps modern writer's mind

Past the Bonfire of the Exes and Mount Amazon, take a shortcut through The Atwoods, avoiding the Reef of Pretension and the Twitter whirlpool – the picture above is a map of the modern writer’s mind. It was drawn by Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine, who is one of 16 high-profile contributors to Where You Are. A box-set of “personal maps” by Alain de Botton, Tao Lin, Adam Thirlwell and Olafur Eliasson among others, it will be published by Visual Editions in December; an interactive website is live now at www.where-you-are.com.
See full article at The Independent »

One Direction: This Is Us – review

I suspect a previous, wackier version of this film was ditched in favour of this slick promo video – that I admit is rather watchable

A One Direction concert movie directed by Morgan "Super Size Me" Spurlock? Does he experimentally listen to nothing but One Direction for a year? Well, there's nothing subversive about this film. We get a single, wacky shot of a neuroscientist explaining their effect on fans' brains, and the band's hidden-camera stunts and pranks in public are mostly relegated to the final credits. I suspect a previous, wackier idea for the film was ditched in favour of a slick promotional video about their jaw-dropping global tour, but I also have to admit that this is a rather watchable record of a phenomenon. Strangely, it looks like a modified version of the personal "backstory" segment on The X Factor, showing them in rehearsal, backstage, on stage or at
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Simpsons, You've Been Framed, The Muppets: Nina Conti's favourite TV

The ventriloquist on what she and her monkey like to watch on television

Unmissable show?

One that will be unmissable is Great Artists In Their Own Words. Picasso, Dalí, Matisse: I've never heard them talk so I love to hear all that. Classic BBC4 fare. Because I'm around comedians all the time, in my downtime I tend not to watch comedy. Something the whole family enjoys is You've Been Framed!. It satisfies all of us. It's universal, and we all laugh a lot.

Bring back …

One that I'm always reminded of by my ringtone is The Muppets. I think they are bringing back the Muppets. I read they're doing a gameshow on BBC. I'm pleased about that. Bring them back.

TV turn-off?

The National Lottery. It's sad, the lottery. Good projects get funded by it, but there's an air of desperation about it. I know that if I turned on
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Thn At Future Cinema: Casablanca At The Troxy Review

Future Cinema and Secret Cinema, like the Bonnie and Clyde of the alternative celluloid experience, are slowly picking off their competition to become the first and last word in the kismet of cinema. Now spawning more events than Kerry Katona spawns children, the past year alone has seen Grease, Bugsy Malone, Prometheus and The Third Man all given the immersive treatment. Now the cinematic superpowers are showing The Shawshank Redemption and Casablanca, but I’m far more of a love ‘n’ fedoras type of gal than a death ‘n’ where’s the soap type of gal… although kudos if that’s your bag, congrats on your soul and sphincter of steel. So safe in the knowledge that some other poor sod was objected to the horrors of death row, I set my curls, slicked on my lippy and donned my best 40s garb (thanks Topshop circa 2010 and Mum’s cardie
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Harry Styles and the philosopher friend

One Direction star Harry Styles has become friends with one of Britain's most respected philosophers. The 19-year-old heartthrob met Alain de Botton at a party and the pair surprisingly got on well and Harry spent a long time picking Alain's brain about the subject. The 43-year-old academic - who wrote the book 'The Consolations of Philosophy' - told The Sun newspaper: 'He was very interested in finding out about philosophy. He seemed a very intelligent chap.' Alain hopes Harry will introduce the subject - which deals with the meaning of human existence - to the millions of One Direction fans and make them realise it is an accessible subject. He said: 'In an ideal world, Harry Styles would be teaching
See full article at Monsters and Critics »

Watch television with Roisin Conaty

The standup comedian on her viewing habits, from Come Dine With Me to Blind Date

Unmissable show?

Most shows for me tend to be "missable", because I work in the evenings, but if Come Dine With Me is on I'll find it. Eight hundred channels, but I'll find it. I find that riveting television. There's an innocence to it that a lot of the other reality shows have lost. It's got what the original Big Brother had – genuine awkwardness – rather than people expecting to get booked at the end of it. Enlightened was another one. When it was on, it was a show that I would genuinely watch on the day it came out.

Box set?

I bought Downton Abbey when I was on holiday, and I'm still working on that. Also Mad Men, but it really makes me smoke. It's a terrible show to watch if you've given up smoking.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Euro 2012: Dismal coverage means BBC is slipping below ITV's standards | Scott Murray

'For ITV to blow this now it would have to slip back into its old habit of accidentally cutting away from goals'

It's 42 years now since ITV put together its groundbreaking punditry panel of Malcolm Allison, Pat Crerand, Derek Dougan and Arsenal Bloke, and famously blew the BBC out of the water at the World Cup. Until now, Mexico 70 remained the only major international football tournament at which ITV had got the better of its old enemy. But now we rub our eyes in wonder, blinking in disbelief at uncharted terrain. For it appears that it is, after all that time, finally putting one over on jiggered old Auntie again.

From the outset it should be noted that Adrian Chiles and pals haven't had a particularly high bar to clear. Back in 1970, the BBC lineup boasted heavyweight presenters in David Coleman and Frank Bough; a commentary team of Coleman, Barry Davies,
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

What Big Business Can Learn From God

Vincent Starr Alain de Botton

Human beings have two sides to them, physical and psychological, and these have had two contrasting repercussions in business. The material needs of man have led to the great corporations of our age. The giant multinationals have arisen on the back of providing us with things we need to wear, to eat, to house ourselves, to call each other and to transport us to work. However, remarkably, the psychological dimensions of man, despite their importance,
See full article at Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal »

Fiona Shaw: 'I prepared for True Blood by going to witches' meetings'

The acclaimed Irish performer talks about the call from Hollywood that every actor dreams about

Let's start with True Blood ...

We're going to end with True Blood, too, aren't we?

Er, no. Anyway, you're a witch ... It's not exactly typecasting.

No. I just got a phone call one day. They didn't even go through my agent. Hollywood ringing – it's what everyone dreams about. They'd seen me in Medea (1) and decided I'd be ideal. Medea was very glamorous, though; Marnie isn't, but I wanted to do something that was so far away from what I was used to. I did a lot of research by going to witches' meetings …

How do you find a witches' meeting? Is there a Witches' Anonymous?

There's the Bodhi Tree book store (2)in Hollywood, which has books on healing and that sort of thing, and in the window there are notices for a phenomenal range of offerings.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Catch up TV Guide: From Fresh Meat to Frozen Planet

TV: Fresh Meat

After taking a break for last week's drama Top Boy, Fresh Meat returns to its regular Wednesday night slot. For those who can't wait until then to witness Vod's scathing Salman Rushdie review, however – and who could blame you – the new episode is already up on 4Od.

4oD

Audio: Jam City XLR8R Podcast

The most enigmatic member of London's Night Slugs crew, Jack "Jam City" Latham whets appetites for his forthcoming debut album with this inventive DJ mix, heavy on the classic house sounds.

xlr8r.com/podcast/2011/10/jam-city

TV: PhoneShop

The second series of the sitcom starts on E4 on Thursday. To revise your knowledge of the intricacies of mobile phone-based comedy, you could track down and watch old episodes of Trigger Happy TV – it's a man shouting into a giant phone! – or you could just watch the entire first series of this instead.

4oD
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

TV review: Mad Dogs, 30 Rock and The Culture Show

There's a butchered goat in the pool. What more will it take to wake the dozy Mad Dogs?

After unsuccessfully fobbing us off with endless series of Ross Kemp looking macho, Sky is now throwing serious money at getting viewers to watch something other than sport. Last week saw the launch of Sky Atlantic; this week we got Mad Dogs (Sky1), a four-part blokey thriller with a dream cast of Philip Glenister, John Simm, Marc Warren and Max Beesley.

You could count the influences: Lord of the Flies, Sexy Beast, Point Break, Shallow Grave and probably more to come in future episodes, but no matter how hard Mad Dogs tried to establish its edgy credentials, the lasting impression of the first episode was of a bunch of fortysomething actors having a good time abroad – lounging around the swimming pool, going out to bars and mucking around in a motor boat at somebody else's expense.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »
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