by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Television”

Live-blogging The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Posted 31 May 2008 in by Catriona

I have absolutely no idea how this will go—it was a throwaway line one night, when Nick and I were discussing the manifest aspects of Allan Moore’s genius and how we hadn’t been able to sit through the entire movie, despite loving the graphic novels (well, I loved them; I think Nick loved the first two and hasn’t finished the third one.)

I said, “Maybe I should live-blog the movie—that way we might sit through it.”

Nick thought this was a brilliant idea, and so here we are.

I’ve never live-blogged a movie—at least Eurovision had ad. breaks. But this time I suppose we have a pause button if need be.

Plus, I have coffee. There can’t be that much wrong in the world if one has coffee. (Vodka is now out of the live-blogging line up, after the aftermath of Eurovision semi-final 2: I had no idea how much vodka would be required.)

So here we are—and I’m not optimistic about the film. I’ve only seen 15 minutes of it before, after which I begged Nick to turn it off.

The 20th-Century Fox symbol is cool.

Hang on, writing. Bugger.

Right, policemen with whistles . . . and wolves? Or dogs? And a tank. What?

Seriously, what? I don’t even remember this from last time.

Oh, ew! Squished policeman.

Now the tank is in the bank of England. Why? (Seriously, Nick doesn’t remember this bit either. It’s certainly not in the books.) And would bank security guards in England in the late nineteenth century be armed?

Actually, I’m not sure when this is set—these seem to be Nazis. Are they Nazis?

Oh, I see—1899. So pre-World War Two German soldiers.

Damn—who is the villain? Doctor Doom?

I seriously don’t remember any of this—and now airships are exploding. Okay, there were airships in the original.

Ah, Kenya!

I do remember this bit—but I don’t recall any of the earlier material about World War One apparently starting fifteen years early after a poorly exposited attack on a German airship factory.

Ooh, the Reverend from the last Doctor Who story—and Allan Quartermain. Nah, that’s not Quartermain. Where’s Sean Connery? This guy is so dead, pretending to be Quartermain.

Ah, there’s Quartermain—and maybe that man won’t die, after all.

I don’t like this Quartermain, though—even if it is Sean Connery.

“Lead a team of unique men”? Dammit—Mina is the leader of this League! Allan Quartermain is a broken, opium-addicted shell of his former self at this point in the narrative. He gets better—damn, there’s that sexism again. Sure, stories of Quartermain have thrilled boys for decades—but girls, too. Like Mina, for example.

Oops, the fake Quartermain is dead.

Good thing the bad guys can’t shoot straight, once again. Or may Allan (Quartermain is too long to type) can just outrun machine-gun bullets.

Oh, dear—one of the bad guys appears to be caught in a coffee table. That must hurt—but not as much as what happened with that rhinoceros horn. Damn.


Actually, the rhinoceros reminds me of Deadwood—“He twelve-pointed Slippery Dan!” I guess a rhinoceros horn is one point.

See! I told you that ticking bag was a bomb, you fools.

Hang on, is that tombstone Allan’s son (who “pops up”, in a manner of speaking, in the later books) or his wife, or one of his wives, or did he fake his own death? I have no idea. I doubt it’s important.

Referencing Phileas Fogg? Don’t bother—you’ll never be able to match the subtlety and complexity of Moore’s references.

Ah, League headquarters.

NICK: Aw, I want a subterranean lair. With books.

Oh, it’s M. Who is M in the movie? Is it still going to be Professor Moriarty? (Spoiler!)

Ooh, Captain Nemo! I liked him in the books. Apparently in this he doesn’t like being called a pirate. I seem to recall he was very fond of the term in the novels.

Oh, don’t reference the Phantom of the Opera! That was an entirely different League, I seem to recall.

And there’s The Invisible Man—if he dies in this the way he dies in the novel, I’m out of here. Hang on, he’s not the original Invisible Man? Why not? Who’s Rodney Skinner?

I miss the original meeting with the Invisible Man—posing as the Holy Ghost while impregnating schoolgirls. That was grotesque.

Hang on, Mina is a minor League member? And she’s still Mina Harker—what happened to the divorce and her insistence on being Miss Murray?

Okay, “Call me Ishmael” made me laugh out loud—but I hope Broadarrow Jack is still a crew member on the Nautilus.

Skinner’s white face paint doesn’t make him look invisible, it just makes him look like an ordinary man wearing white face paint.

Now they’re referencing Jack the Ripper—and there’s Dorian Gray.

Rant coming: I know Dorian Gray was a member of an earlier League, but why oh why did they add him to this set? Sure, Stuart Townsend is rather pretty—although the character is insufferable.

(Hang on, Allan Quartermain is indestructable? Why now?)

(Also, another spoiler—Mina is the most rubbish vampire ever! Why one earth couldn’t she hear those gunmen coming?)

Back to the rant, while the villain does his boring monologue: Dorian Gray doesn’t add anything to this film—whereas Edward Hyde was a fascinating and complicated character, who came to a fascinating end.

Ah, it seems Tom Sawyer has joined the crew. Now this did irritate me. I understand he was added to attract American audiences. Well, I’m sorry but these are intensely British books—and I don’t believe that American audiences are necessarily that xenophobic. Look how well the Harry Potter films and Lord of the Rings trilogy did.

There’s a fight scene going on while I“m writing this, by the way, but it’s a bit dull. No real banter.

Okay, Townsend did do that line quite nicely:
MINION: What are you?
DORIAN: I’m . . . complicated.

Oh, Mina—you must have known that that man was there! Ah, now she reveals that she’s a vampire.

I still preferred the old Mina.

Hang on, apparently Dorian’s clothes are invulnerable to harm as well! All the bullet holes have healed up—how? Is he wearing those clothes in the portrait?

Ah—they actually are bringing Edward Hyde into the fold, after all. I’d forgotten that.

“Dracula—he was Transylvanian.” Hilarious: she may as well have said “He was one of the Shropshire Draculas.”

Oooh, the Nautilus. Is the Thames actually that deep at that point? How? She’s a lovely ship, though.

They’ve toned down Mina’s scars, I see—that’s a shame.

Right—slight cigarette break so I can get feeling back into my legs. Damn—we’re only half an hour through the film.

Hyde’s a bit unconvincing—but at least he’s carrying a cane. I hope we get to see him do the polka. But that would be the sequel, wouldn’t it?

I thought if you couldn’t do it in one bullet, not to do it at all, Allan. But Nick claims he’s choosing each shot.

NICK: Peta Wilson does a good Sean Connery, actually.

Ah, is Mina going to be the one who gets through to Hyde? That would be interesting. Oh, no—looks like Allan gets that role as well. What exactly is Mina going to do, apart from drink people’s blood?

Wow—the transformation into Jekyll looks insanely painful and noisy. How has he been able to get away with that all these years? Surely the neighbours would complain.

Damn—how big is the Nautilus? Ten stories? And why is it riding on the surface of the water?

Hang on, shouldn’t Mina be bursting into flames in the sun?

He looks a bit familiar, Tom Sawyer. I don’t think I’ve seen him before.

Oh, good—the Nautilus is finally going under water. It would be a bit of a waste of a submarine, otherwise.

The copy of The Strand Magazine is a nice touch—do you think Allan Quartermain read the Sherlock Holmes stories?

I’m assuming the fact that Skinner is walking around naked and invisible is prefiguring the fact that he’s a villain, but we’ll see.

I’m not sure that this “Phantom” is actually going to make an effective villain—he looks like Doctor Doom and is strangely ineffectual. I miss the Devil Doctor, who was an appropriately nineteenth-century villain—a racial stereotype, of course, but one used consciously and cleverly by authors exploiting the fictional tropes of the period about which they were writing. And he was well creepy.

Ah, the grave was Allan Quartermain Junior. That’s going to make following the later graphic novels harder—but then there’s been zero attempt in this film so far to follow the original graphic novel.

I haven’t actually tried to transcribe any of the dialogue yet—it’s beyond banal.

NICK: Ah, father-son bonding over an enormous rifle and—well, phallic symbol, really.

Nick doesn’t believe in mincing words.

Ooh, the interior decorating of the Nautilus is pretty; in a way, it looks oddly like a Queenslander.

I love it when characters see people watching them doing something private (like, for example, worshipping Kali) and then pointedly and angrily shut the door in their faces. I mean, if it’s that private and there were actually doors available in the first place, why didn’t you shut them before you began?

Ah, Dorian is describing his portrait—mate, it doesn’t just age instead of you. More to the point, it shows the effects of your dissipations. I’m not sure that the portrait was ever supposed to give unnatural long life—although it’s been a while since I read the novella. I think it just allowed him to stay young for the duration of his normal life. I think.

I’m not comfortable with the idea of Mina as an uncontrollably attractive femme fatale.

Hang on, someone’s taken one of the bottles of Hyde formula? Can other people use it?

Shit! How on earth is the Nautilus navigating the Venetian canals? Aren’t they something like 10 feet deep? I guess the Phantom doesn’t need to blow the foundations of Venice—apparently it doesn’t have any.

Ooh, Venetian Carnival! I assume it has another name, but I don’t know that it is. Looks fun, though.

Nick thinks they’ve taken fewer liberties with Nemo than with the other characters. He’s probably right—but given the liberties they’ve taken with Mina and Allan—and the addition of two other characters—that isn’t saying much.

Ah—so that’s the pay-off for the ridiculous limousine from earlier in the film—they’re going to use it to—out-run the chain of explosions from a series of bombs? O-kay then.

Right, remember when it said it looked like they were setting Skinner up to be a villain? Apparently there was no set-up; he just is a villain now, and is warning people of their approach, even though he’s been in a submarine all this time. Again, o-kay.

Hey, Mina can turn into an enormous quantity of bats! I’ve always wondered how that was possible, speaking practically. Useful trait, though.

What happened to Dorian? I wasn’t looking.

NICK: This is primo A-grade bullshit.

He then went on to say that he’s pretty sure 90% of Venice didn’t explode in 1899, but I did point out that this isn’t actually a documentary.

Okay, Tom Sawyer must be dead after that crash.

Nope—apparently not.

NEMO: He’s done it!
ME: Done what?
NICK: I don’t know—it didn’t make any sense.

ALLAN: Venice still stands.
ME: Bits of it!
NICK: If he’d just said “more or less” I would have forgiven him.

Wow, the Phantom really is a crappy villain.

Ah, there’s Dorian. I guess he is the bad guy, after all. In which case, where’s Skinner?

Oh, the Phantom is M! Hang on, does that mean M is Professor Moriarty? I’m confused. And poor old Ishmael is dead—that would never have happened if he’d had Broadarrow Jack by his side.

Hang on, Ishmael’s not dead. Oh, no, wait—he is now. Nick’s quite pleased he was clever enough to mention his attacker’s name first, until of leaving it until he’s almost dead, as people normally do.

Ooh, nice escape pod.

Really, the design of the Nautilus is the best thing about this film, hands down. But its escape pod is called the Nautiloid? Why?

I thought that was a gramophone record? Apparently it’s a film. With sound. In 1899. Still, I suppose it’s in an enormous submarine, so that’s something to consider.

“He’s stolen us! And we let him.” Yes, but that’s all right, mate—you probably weren’t paying that much attention to the plot. I know I wasn’t.

Bombs that operate via crystal sensors? Why on earth can’t super-villains just use ordinary bombs, like everyone else? Oh, and now they’re blowing up the Nautilus—the one thing I said I liked about this movie? That’s just bloody typical.

While I was typing this, by the way, M was reviewing his entire villainous strategy, on the grounds that the Nautilus was going to blow up anyway—it’s a good thing they weren’t still in harbour when they listened to the record, isn’t it?—but it wasn’t a very interesting strategy, so I’ve skipped over it.

More than that, I’ve completely forgotten it by now.

Hyde appears to be doing something now to drain the Nautilus, but I don’t know what it could be, since the ship was full fathoms five at the time. Surely anything that drained water would also let more water in?

Ah, what do I know—I know nothing of the Laws of Physics, except that they exist.

Skinner’s sending a secret Morse code message from within a very small ship occupied by the enemy, but instead of saying “Skinner,” he takes the trouble to tap out “Hello, my freaky darlings”?

NICK: See, now I want a TV series starring Captain Nemo and his amazing ship.

Wait, what—now they’re in the frozen lakes of Mongolia? Why?

As Nick has apparently only just realised, this bears no resemblance to the plot of either of the first two graphic novels or to any of the stories covered in the third volume.

Hey, that palace has flame throwers! I’m going to have flame throwers on my headquarters in Mongolia when I’m a supervillain.

Allan, you can’t find an invisible man by standing outside a supervillain’s palace in the snow and shouting his name. Ah, that’s all right—he’s back to his unconvincing face paint.

Are those robots? Why?

I still wouldn’t trust Skinner—even though Quartermain thinks he’s a hero. But then I may be thinking back to the novels, and that would be a mistake, apparently.

Another cigarette break, I think.

Right, so where we we? I think they were storming the fortress, while Dorian was figuring out that the wages of sin are death—ah, but so, as Terry Pratchett points out, is the salary of virtue. And anyway, isn’t this Dorian immortal?

Actually, I really need to check whether the portrait did make him immortal in the novella. I know it made him invulnerable (and vulnerable at the same time, hence his untimely end) but that’s not the same thing at all. And would he really have lived all this time by 1899, when he and his novella were very much products of the decadent 1890s?

If this had been made after the latest graphic novel came out, I would have said that they’d confused his character with that of Orlando, but I might be overthinking this a little too much, yes?

And on that note, when and how did Johnathan Harker die? Wouldn’t it have been easier to make Mina a divorcee after all?

What? Oh, the movie. Right.

Still storming the fortress. But Mina’s taken the time in the interim to curl her hair. Women, eh?

Oh, now they’re the Three Musketeers.

Where do supervillains get the money to run these enormous fortresses with round the clock guards on everyone? Seriously—he hasn’t actually started selling his weapons yet, has he? So where is the money coming from?

NICK: It’s not easy being nekkid and fighting crime.

He’s got that right. I don’t think, if I were the Invisible Man, I would have volunteered to do anything that would have required a blowtorch.

Ha! There’s actually man laughing hysterically while shooting everyone with a machine gun! I do like a man who takes his career seriously, but also enjoys himself.

Nick thinks the robots are actually men in battle suits.

Ha, I was right—M is Professor Moriarty. At least they kept that bit right.

Nick now totally has a boy crush on Captain Nemo.

Damn—what the hell is Mina wearing?

Ew—healing facial wounds. I guess Mina has claws? She’s very convincing as a fighter, Peta Wilson, even for someone who’s never seen La Femme Nikita.

Ew—“I hoped I’d get to nail you one last time”? Oh dear lord, that’s the worst banter I’ve ever heard.

And now Nick’s doing a Sean Connery impersonation—cool! Robotic man with a flamethrower. I’m also having those in my fortress—though they seem to be hard on the soft furnishings.

Come on, Hyde! Do the polka! Damn—drinking Hyde potion? Now we have two Hydes? Or maybe he’ll just explode—he did drink a lot.

Wait—now Mina’s hair isn’t curly any more? Why? When did that happen?

Ew—apparently just looking at the portrait is enough to kill Dorian. So, wait—he did all this to get the portrait back? But the portrait itself isn’t vulnerable—Mina didn’t need to stab it, or anything. So . . . it would actually have been in Dorian’s interests to let M—or anyone, really—keep the portrait, so he couldn’t see it accidentally?

That whole sub-plot makes less sense than the rest of the film, is that’s possible.

Sean Connery’s in a knife fight with Richard Roxborough—you don’t see that every day. Meanwhile, Hyde’s fighting a giant purple version of himself, and . . . no. I’m not going to assess the symbolism of that at all.

And now Allan has an axe—that’s no good. Hyde and Nemo seem done for.

More bombs!

Damn! Where did they get all those explosives from? Does the Nautilus just have an everlasting supply? And how do only the good guys survive these holocausts?

What’s going on with M’s accent? Wait, he can fly? How can he fly? Why am I even asking these questions any more?

Oh dear—I think Allan Quartermain just died.

Well, M’s been shot. He must have really loved that mask, since he took the trouble to rescue it from a burning fortress.

Oops, no—that was Allan Quartermain dying. Dammit! I liked the old Allan Quartermain better. And they took him back to Africa to bury him? Well, I suppose they had the Nautilus—and all that ice from the Mongolian lakes.

How is the Invisible Man still alive? I thought he was burnt to a crisp. Or was that the fake Invisible Man?

Oh, don’t tell me Allan’s going to rise from the grave! Oh, please no!

Well, I suppose technically he didn’t, but the intent was pretty clear. Had they moved on to a sequel, I assume Allan would have been in it.

Actually, now the credits are rolling, I wonder how this did do at the box office? Badly, I hope. I understand Allan Moore refused to have anything to do with it—and I don’t blame him. You could have made a rather lovely and clever action film out of the original graphic novel, if they’d tried. But they clearly didn’t care about the original source material.

Ha! I’ve just checked Rotten Tomatoes. 16%? That’s cold.

Nick claims he approved of Peta Wilson, by the end: I didn’t. I love Moore’s Mina, and that wasn’t her. And even if you want to change the characters around, which does happen, this new Mina was woefully underused.

Well, that’s another ridiculously long live-blogging post—this live-blogging lark’s quite a fun way to spend an evening, actually.

But I might go and see what I’ve actually written.

I Don't Care How Much of Your Special Effects Budget You Spent, CSI: New York . . .

Posted 26 May 2008 in by Catriona

You have to stop showing me that model. Even my admitted weakness for fireworks and your pandering to it with an explosion in a fireworks factory isn’t enough to make up for that model.

Ever since we started watching CSI—the original—many years ago, Nick and I, along with our friends who watch the show, have kept a running informal tally of the most grotesque deaths that the programme has shown.

Grotesque, that is, in terms of the conditions in which they find the bodies, not any horror attending the circumstances of the death.

So far, I still think the two worst are the guy who died in a hot bath and the man found in a canvas bag.

CSI: Miami—in addition to being a remarkably silly show that, once Horatio Caine’s Sunglasses of Justice lost their amusement value, we stopped watching very quickly—didn’t really favour the grotesque deaths. Instead, it preferred punishing Bright Young Things for their decadent lifestyles.

CSI: New York—even with the added value that is Gary Sinise—shares this tendency towards glitterati crimes: Nick and I can now spot the intended victim as soon as we see the camera zooming in towards an expensive-looking party.

CSI: New York also showcases scientific montages that have no value whatsoever, since you never get the faintest idea what the people are doing, and tends to provide only the most spurious motives.

Recently, we’ve taken to betting each other that we can guess the ridiculous reason behind the latest murder, but we were stumped a fortnight ago, when a man starting a catering business horribly murdered his employer because the latter insisted on a meeting during the caterer’s son’s birthday party.

A convoluted motive? Sure.

Plausible? Not so much.

But CSI: New York does have grotesque bodies.

And that brings me back to the opening point of this post.

Please, CSI: New York, I realise that you must have spent an enormous quantity of your special effects budget for this episode creating the model corpse of the unpleasant Internet entrepreneur who was killed just after the opening credits by an exploding cigar.

But please, please, please stop showing the man on-screen. We saw him explode, and we saw the corpse. And then we saw it again. And again. And again.

I’m happy to put exploding-cigar victim at the top of my grotesque-death tally board (although even as I have been typing this post, you have just upped the grotesquery stakes, thanks to introducing the concept of eyeball tattooing.)

But you have to promise that I won’t have to see him ever again.

Sometimes, less is more.

When Editing Becomes Arty By Accident

Posted 25 May 2008 in by Catriona

Since I wasn’t able to watch it live when it aired on the ABC last night, I’ve just been watching a recording of “The Shadow in the North”—the second of the BBC adaptations of Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockheart Mysteries—when things suddenly went very strange.

(And, at this point, a warning: I can’t discuss the strange sense of dissonance that this created without referring explicitly to specific plot events. So, if you haven’t read the book or seen the adaptation and plan to do either of those things, don’t read any further.)

As far as we can tell, the video file was corrupted but the audio file was left intact, which threw me for a good two minutes. We have had this problem with recordings before, especially during the last World Cup, where I got one game with audio but no video and one with video but no audio—both of which were frustrating to watch.

Because the problem with this was that, at first, the conjunction of the two made sense.

I’d actually lost quite a bit of the programme, as far as I could tell. It’s difficult to judge, since the adaptation is not word-for-word, but the video broke off where Sally was comforting Isabel Sullivan about her betrayal of McKinnon and came back with the death of Chaka in the alleyway; in the book, nearly fifty pages of material comes between those two events.

I thought that was odd, to begin with; the death of Chaka in the book is devastating—brilliant but phenomenally difficult to read (I’ve always disliked reading about the deaths of companion animals, anyway, which is why I don’t own a copy of Black Beauty)—and I thought it strange that it would, to all intents and purposes, be skipped over in the adaptation.

But what really threw me was the fact that it just seemed to be an arty editing choice, for the first minute or two.

To begin with, we had Sally and Isabel talking in Sally’s office, immediately after Frederick had suggested that he and Sally should cease all communication. All very neat and straightforward.

Then, with what seemed to be a break in Isabel’s voice but was actually the break in the recording, we had Isabel fretting over her betrayal, asking Sally if she’d ever loved a man to such an extent—while Sally wept over Chaka’s body.

And it made sense, at first. Because Chaka was in many ways emblematic of Sally’s fierce independence, the independence that would keep her apart from Frederick rather than allowing her to see whether they could work as equal partners. In the book, moreover, Chaka was a physical barrier between the two of them, since he didn’t care overly much for Frederick.

So the weeping over Chaka with a voiceover about betrayal and love was a plausible scene, although I did feel a little cheated that the dog, so to speak, hadn’t had his day.

Then the audio shifted to Sally’s voice, wondering if it was worse to betray the man you loved out of pride rather than fear, while the video shifted to her weeping on Frederick’s shoulder for the loss of Chaka.

And it still made sense; the voiceover still worked plausibly with the images to show Sally’s burgeoning sense that independence didn’t have to mean solitude.

But when I watched for thirty seconds more, it became apparent that this wasn’t arty direction, but rather a big disjunction between audio and video.

Still, I’m going to keep the broken file, if I can.

There’s something to be said for the beauty of a technological malfunction that actually seduces you into thinking, however briefly, that it’s art.

Live-blogging Eurovision: Semi-Final 2 (or, This Time, I Have Vodka)

Posted 24 May 2008 in by Catriona

Okay, this time I’m preparing myself in advance. Last night’s attempt was spur of the moment—or I would have had more to say about the Serbian children’s choir who looked like they were on sabbatical from the Academy on Gallifrey—but this time I have settled myself in advance.

Well in advance, since the semi-final isn’t televised for another half an hour.

Still, this should mean that I don’t miss any song titles, as I did with Finland last night.

On the plus side, I just spoke with my mother, and she agrees that the whole point of Eurovision is people getting their kit off on-stage: as she says, either you do it on purpose, or your back-up dancer slips, grabs your clothes, and the velcro comes loose, in which case it’s funny. So, Eurovision performers, let’s see some more removable clothes!

Back in half an hour.

Right, now I’m back. I’ve had a dinner and a cigarette, and I have vodka. I think those are all the essentials for the evening.

See, we’re taking this live-blogging gig very seriously this time around.

Of course, it hasn’t started yet. Instead, I’m watching Nigella Lawson talking about how good tea makes her feel. It certainly makes her look good, but I’m still sick of her and her insistence that ten pounds of fresh raspberries are essential to the recipe.

Oh, no—now it’s the CMC Markets ad. again. Although at least time they don’t talk about “less commissions,” so I should count my blessings.

Damn! Giant rabbit buying a load of carrots. Seriously?

I’m rethinking the vodka at this point.

Ooh, that’s a different Chesterfield than the one she was sitting on last night, isn’t it? Where do they get all these sofas from.

Latvian pirates? Where? Bring them on now!

Okay, the Eurovision theme is even scarier tonight than the big-haired ’70s version last night, if that’s possible. Are those people in camouflage?

Oh dear lord! Is that a centaur? Why? Why?

And more multi-coloured people—what is it with Serbian people and face-painting?

The centaur wants me to join his poetic circus? Oh, hell no. That’s the worst pick-up line I’ve ever heard.

Damn—the centaur has wings. This is hands-down the strangest thing I’ve ever seen . . . hang on, more blue and red people.

What does that man have around his neck?

Seriously, what is happening here?

The same hosts as last time—although the British commentators seem to be drunker than last night. I bet you’re looking at her biography, mate! These hosts are a bit dull, though, especially after the centaur.

Whoops, now we’re in French. I have no more idea what’s happening than the British commentators do.

Oh, hang on—there really was an apple. Right.

I don’t like these postcards. Bring back the travelogues and the Moomins.

Iceland: “This is My Life.”
An Icelandic tribute band.
Oooh, tribute to 1990s electronica, apparently.
Well, it’s dynamic—if you like boy bands with only one member.
Nick: Oh, god! Where’d she come from?
He’s also strangely freaked out by the pink high heels, which seem to me to be the most interesting thing on stage.
It’s a bit derivative—which seems par for the course—but I wouldn’t be surprised if they got through.

People throwing paint on each other. Great.

Sweden: “Hero.
Another of the favourites, apparently.
Oh, dear lord, no.
What on earth has she done to herself? And why is she that colour?
Hang on, is this the one who’s a plastic-surgery addict? Has to be.
Okay, this joins Spain in my nightmares.
Nice legs, though—I guess she hasn’t had anything done to them.
I haven’t heard a note of this song, by the way—I can’t stop looking the singer. Not in a good way.

Turkey: “Crazy.” (Missed the title again. It’s too early for that.)
If there aren’t any blood packs, I’m out of here.

But in the interim, have a picture of Charlotte Perrelli wearing an oxygen mask, via Defamer.

Actually, Turkey aren’t that bad. I like his shiny jacket.
Nick tells me people are commenting on the blog: he’s going to approve the comments, since I’m too easily distracted.
Yeah, that was quite fun. And refreshingly non-surgical.

Ooh, juggler.

Ukraine: “Shady Lady.
Another favourite. We’ll see. It had better have an ice skater.
Nick: Ooh. She’s a bit of all right.
The dresses are getting smaller, though.
Nick’s now decided she’s a bit plastic. He shouldn’t make snap judgements when I’m live-blogging.
I’ll send him out for more vodka.
Oh, the song?
“Baby, don’t call me baby.” What?
Hang on, how did she get up there? I only stopped looking for a second.
Yep, I can see this getting through, despite the awful back-up dancers.

Now people on swings. With paint. This is weird.

Lithuania: “Nomads in the Night.”
That’s a lot of hair.
Damn. I’ve just seen the pants.
Good thing, too—there’s no distraction to be had from the song.
Nick thinks the pants are TMI. I have to agree, albeit reluctantly.
The song is awful, though—and I’m not sure he’s hitting the right notes.
Oooh, wind machine. First of the night. That’s a plus note.

I like these commentators. “If you’re nervous about leather, watch out.”

Albania: I have no chance of writing that song title down, sorry.
16 years old? That beats the 20-year-old Israeli performer.
She looks 16, too, but not in a skeevy way. I like her for that alone.
Hang on, what’s following her around? Oh, it’s her coat.
I have a feeling this is a heart-wrenching ballad, but my Albanian is a little rusty.
She’s clutching her head, though, which is a good sign for a ballad.

Ad. break! Back soon!

Shortest cigarette break ever! And I’m still waiting for the Latvian pirates.

Gymnasts. Just what I was thinking we needed.

Switzerland: “Ero Stupendo.”
Wasn’t it wonderful? Didn’t Elton John write that for a Disney film about ten years ago?
Yep, this does nothing for me, sung in Italian or not.
You can smile at me all you like, mate; it won’t change my mind.
Damn—those back-up . . what? Dancers? Anyway, their hair is terrifying.
And yet more leather pants.
Still not interested.
And are those dancers only wearing one glove each? Why?

More gymnasts.

Czech Republic: “Have Some Fun.”
A DJ with wings—kind of. That’s new.
The silver dresses, not so much.
Nick thinks this defies comment, but give me a moment.
Actually, he’s just contradicted himself: “Those are the highest skirts I’ve ever seen!” I don’t know if that’s a good thing.
I’m just getting flashes of Ab Fab: “The world’s your gynecologist.”
Why do they need the half-naked dancers when the singers are half-naked? And is the DJ actually doing anything?
Oooh, fireworks. Too little, too late, Czech Republic.
The song? No idea.

LOVE the commentators. It was impeded by too many clothes.

Belarus: “Hasta La Vista.”
Oh, please involve a Terminator. Or Sarah Conner.
Damn, it’s Wham.
Has anyone taken their kit off yet?
Wait, what are those things on the stage. No, behind the dancers.
“I’m going to miss you. Maybe.” Brilliant! I’m voting for these guys.
Are those more leather pants?
Dear lord, that woman’s definitely not in her top. Actually, are any of them?
Oh. Thank goodness for close-ups—it’s just netting. I was a bit worried there.
Nick: “Can you measure your happiness in inches at this stage? That’s the question.”

Seamstresses. Very exotic.

Latvia: “Wolves of the Sea.”
Woo! Pirates!
Fabulous! These guys might almost take my love from Azerbaijan.
Ha! This is what Eurovision should be! Nick’s even tapping his feet—although he points out that the guy on the right at the back isn’t really into it.
Damn, that’s a crappy sword.
Do a hornpipe! Go on!
Nick: “You can be more than pirates, guys! You can be camp Eurovision singers as well!”
I want that coat for the next International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
I really want them to go through—they had model sharks!

Croatia: “Romanca.”
75 Cents the rapper? What?
Damn—how old is that guy?
This is strangely Mafia, but Nick likes the robot ballerinas.
The song itself is a little dull, though—although I haven’t been addressing the songs much, so far.
Actually, the Latvian pirates should have had fireworks. Or a wind machine. Or both.
What? Oh, Croatia. Still a bit dull and slightly creepy.
Actually, it’s picking up a bit in the chorus, with the strange instrument made of multi-coloured wine glasses. And scratching on a gramophone. Haven’t seen that before.

Bulgaria: “DJ, Take Me Away.”
What’s with the DJ theme?
Oooh, break dancing. I’m a sucker for break dancing.
A turntable guitar? Cool.
Actually, this is intriguing.
Hang on, what’s happening? This singer’s sucking all the life out of it!
Wait—stockings? That’s a cheap grab for attention. And, as Nick, says, a load-bearing dress.
Damn—the turntables are on fire! What’s happening?
I have no idea if I love this or hate it—and wasn’t she wearing feathers on her head.
Too much is happening here!
Actually, I think I liked that. Bits of it, anyway.

Denmark: “All Night Long.”
Isn’t that a Lionel Richie song?
Mellow—but he is wearing a newsboy cap. That’s a disadvantage.
No, wait—this is a Lionel Richie song.
Is this the 13th country already? Wow. No wonder I can’t remember anything I’ve written so far.
“Celebrate. Good times. Come on!” Now I know I’ve heard this song before.
Nick labels this an abysmal effort—even, he adds, by Eurovision standards.
Nick has never understood Eurovision.

Damn—nurses. That’s just weird.

Georgia: “Peace Will Come.”
Oh, this performer was born blind. Now I feel guilty.
Or I will, because this is really dull so far.
What are those back-up dancers doing? And wearing? And doing?
Nick: “O-kay. They kind of look like Farscape extras.”
How’s he staying on that angle?
Nope—still dull, even with gravity-defying, bondage-inspired back-up dancers.
Oooh—costume change!
Nicely done!
Right, changed my mind—fickle thing that I am. After all, she’s the first to get her kit off.
Not that there was much to take off, for the previous performers.

Shoe shopping? These are getting stranger and more boring, at the same time.

Hungary: “Candlelight.”
Once again, I expect a white-painted woman to rise up out of that piano.
That dress has to be removable, surely?
Whoops—I think I just went into a coma, briefly. Bloody diva ballads.
Is that a candelabra? Well, it is called “Candlelight.” But the daft thing’s not lit, which kind of undercuts the point.
Nick wonders why Hungary has to take it seriously, when no-one else does.

Malta: “Vodka.”
Well, that’s apposite. I’ve just sent Nick off to fill my glass.
Is that another breastplate? We need one, now Andorra has been knocked out.
Oh—just a bustier. That’s unimaginative.
Okay, this song is making me feel like an alcoholic.
I like her boots, though.
The song itself is lively enough, but I don’t know that I want to hear it again next year.
This really is just a song about wanting to get smashed, isn’t it? Complete with strangely Fascist back-up dancers, as Nick points out.

Dear lord! Stop bending over, woman! (Although I may be speaking solely for myself.)

Cyprus: “Femme Fatale.”
Ooh, another Time Lord! That really is the fashion statement of the season, isn’t it?
That coat has to come off soon, surely.
Yep—there is goes.
And there’s the breastplate I’ve been looking for, apparently.
Nick’s kicking himself—he’s missed both costume changes this evening.
Oh, okay. What’s happening?
Nick’s right—this is too Freudian for me.
I have no idea what that was about.

Oh, thank goodness. Ad. break. It’s true what they say about long journeys.

It’s just occurred to me—none of us are actually watching the televised performances; we’re all blogging, or commenting, or Twittering.

Ooh, Indiana Jones!

F.Y.R. Macedonia: “Let Me Love You.”
Were those boos? [I meant people booing. It’s not a typo.]
Oh . . . wow. More vest with no shirts.
Damn. No . . . I’m not commenting on the singer’s . . . couture . . . at all.
Nick: “She keeps pointing them at the audience!”
The song itself is rather banal—except for some rhymes about “angel’s wings” and “wildest dreams.”
What is it with wings at this year’s competition?
I just wrote that as “this Yeat’s competition”. Freudian slip or vodka?

Portugal: I’m not sure what the title is. What? It’s the last song.
I’m not sure Portugal can make anything out of this, final performing slot or not.
Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if this got through—though it’s thoroughly dull.
I like the singer’s purple hair, though.
Ooh, key change. That’s Eurovision, all right.

And that’s the last one. Felt a bit flatter than last night, frankly. [Nick’s just read this bit, and added “Felt a bit flatter than last night . . . except for Macedonia.” I’ll say it again: “Pervert.”]

Oh dear, the hosts are back.

Oh, the 1956 winner. Why?

How can she be the mother and the daughter of Eurovision? Honestly, English commentator, think about your metaphors before you use them.

Did she just thank the downloaders? Ooh, the FBI won’t like that.

Damn—Charlotte Perrelli is even scarier the second time around.

Nick thinks Turkey was too competent.

Ha! Lithuania. I’d forgotten all about them until now. That’s an awesome mullet, though.

I think the commentators are right—there won’t be a cow left alive in Serbia after tonight.

I kind of hope Belarus get through—just for the rhymes.

Latvian pirates! Arrrr!

Bulgaria: I have mixed feelings about this one. But I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

Denmark, on the other hand, I’m happy to consign to the almost rans.

Georgia—wow, that’s a giant cross she’s wearing. I didn’t notice that the first time around.

I have no idea what I’ve been saying for the past hour and a half; I hope you all realise that.

Oooh, vodka song.

Ad. break! Also, cigarette!

Bloody hell, that was a short break.

Oops. U. K. again. Still not exciting.

France have definitely gone back in time for theirs. And by “time,” I mean the late 1990s, when ’70s retro came in again. Oh, and that is absolutely blackface.

Spain is still terrifying. And I haven’t figured out what the German singers have attached to their backsides. Or why.

At least the backstage woman seems to have seen a doctor about that awful growth on her neck.

Why are they giving people apples? Why?

Ooh, envelopes. I hope they open them faster than they did last night.

1. Ukraine. No surprises there.
2. Croatia. What?
3. Albania. Who were they? Oh, the young girl.
4. Iceland. Are they the pink shoes ones. Yep.
5. Georgia. Ah, the costume change.
6. Denmark. Really?
7. Sweden. Oh, damn. But she’s scary!
8. LATVIA! Woo Hoo! Arrrr! “Chest of gold?” Damn, commentator, that was unsubtle.
9. Turkey. No blood packs, though.
10. Portugal. No real surprises there.

No Macedonia, then. And none of the singers in tiny little silver dresses from the country who’s name I have already forgotten.

Still, tomorrow night should be fun. I’m not live-blogging that, though.

Wow! 22 comments? I might have to go and read those now.

Live-blogging Eurovision: Semi-Final 1

Posted 23 May 2008 in by Catriona

Those are some nice lighting effects. I don’t know how they manage them.

Oh, look, Time Tots!

Are those women in national costume actually giants? They look strangely huge compared to the other people on the stage.

And now people painted blue and red. That’s odd—even for Eurovision.

Dear heavens—is that female presenter really wearing a dress slit up to the crotch with lacy bicycle pants underneath?

Montenegro: “I Love You To Eternity.”
What on earth are those back-up dancers wearing? And are they really doing the robot?
On the plus side, I’m distracted by what seems to be the repeated use of the word “booty.”

Israel: “The Fire in Your Eyes.”
Apparently, this singer’s only 20. I like his shiny silver vest, sans any kind of shirt. Oops, now he seems to have switched to English. Shame: I like the songs in foreign languages best, because I don’t have to worry about the banal lyrics.
He chose that song out of 450 songs?
What on earth did the others sound like?

Estonia: “Leto Svet.”
Wow—flags and gold bikinis before the song even starts.
On the plus side, the camp factor just went up. These guys are like 1980s Estonian Wiggles.
Is that a beetroot? Nick thinks it’s a turnip.
Where did that accordion come from?
What on earth is happening?
Actually, where did the accordion just go?
I—don’t know what to say.
Wait: a former MP and the host of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”? What?

Moldova: “A Century of Love.”
Nobody’s removed any clothes yet. I’m disappointed.
However, this woman is holding a teddy bear—is that weirder than the beetroot?
If living forever means listening to this song over and over again, count me out.
Now the trumpeter’s cuddling the teddy bear.
Wow, this is dull.
There does seem to be a wind machine, though.
Apparently, Moldova have never won. Odd, that.

San Marino: “Complice.”
Ooh, debut.
Uh oh, finger piano movements.
Nick is struggling with how 1980s Eurovision is—I wonder it’s taken him so long to notice.
What purpose does that back-up dancer serve, I wonder? And will she remove any clothes?
This is dull, too—I hope there’s a key change.

Apparently some woman in London thought the camp factor came in with Estonia, too.

Belgium: “O Julissi.”
This woman doesn’t look like an Ishtar.
Nick’s wondering why the term “hatefully twee” just popped into his head.
What are those musicians wearing on their heads? I do like the singer’s shoes, though.
I have a feeling that this song might make more sense, if I could understand it.

Oooh, ad. break. That makes things a little easier. I have no idea how I’m going to keep doing this while I’m eating dinner.

Actually, I have no idea why I started doing this—but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Dinner arrives and ad. break ends. Bad timing.

Azerbaijan: “Day After Day.”
Wow, that is high-pitched.
Oh, what on earth are those? Wings?
Actually, I like this. This is what Eurovision is supposed to be like—I’m casting my vote for Azerbaijan.
Oooh, smoke machine. And sparkly cummerbands.
And a costume change.
Oh, this is Eurovision.
Fireworks! Fabulous.
Oh, that was awesome!

Slovania: “Vrag Naj Vzame.”
I think—don’t check my spelling.
And no, Nick, Slovania is not where the Slaveen come from—although this woman is apparently a Time Lord.
Or, as Nick says, Servalan.
Cool—finally, the clothes start coming off.
Ew, but lime-green and purple dress. That’s not so good.

Norway: “Hold On Be Strong.”
Not impressing me so far. Nick’s right; it sounds like a cover—of just about anything played on B105 over the last ten years.
I guess they’ve stretched the definition of “original.”
Nope, that wasn’t the dullest yet.

Poland: “For Life.”
Smoke machine—but still not a good start.
Dear lord, I wish her luck getting that dress off. Ever.
Oh, wow: can we all say “sub-Celine Dion” in unison? It might make her stop.
If we don’t have a woman rising up out of that white grand piano, I’m going to be very disappointed.
Yep, very disappointed.

Ireland: “Irelande Douze Pointe.”
Finally! A singing turkey puppet.
Okay, Ireland are now my second favourite—they’re still behind Azerbaijan, though.
I’m wondering, though, if Ireland ever want to compete in Eurovision ever again.
Did that turkey just say “Let’s bring it home”?
I like his accent, though. And all the gold lame.
Hey, that’s booing! That’s not right. Serbians can’t be that humourless.

Andorra: “Casanova.”
Is David Tennant involved?
Oh, dear god, what is that? Even Nick’s shouted, “Cover your shame, woman!”
Oh, bloody hell—it’s a breastplate.
“Casanova—in a fairy tale I found you”: honestly. Keep your literary references straight.
This is so sub-ABBA.
And Nick and I are just waiting for the kit to come off.
Damn. Stayed more or less clothed.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Pokusaj.”
Again, don’t check my spelling.
Oh, what? Four brides?
And a man in a basket with a painted-on moustache?
Oh, I’m having nightmares tonight.
Hang on, she’s hanging out clothes? This is even weirder than Estonia.
Now the brides are knitting?
Seriously, what’s happening?
As Nick says, it doesn’t actually sound that bad, but the mise en scene is—nightmarish, really.
Ha! The commentator’s just said “If you close your eyes, it’s a lovely song, really.” Nick feels justified.

Armenia: “Qele, Qele.”
Still a disappointing absence of removable clothes.
Hang on, what’s happening around her knees? Oh, they’re back-up dancers. Odd.
I do like dresses made entirely out of fringes, but I’m not sure what these back-up dancers are supposed to be doing.
Ooh, fireworks.
I’m easily impressed by fireworks.
Ooh, and the first flamethrower of the night! Always a bonus.
The back-up dancers still seem superfluous.

I want travelogues. These pieces are strange.

The Netherlands: “Your Heart Belongs to Me.”
No, it doesn’t.
Oh, come one—those clothes have to be removable.
She’s pretty, but this is dull. And the dancers are superfluous, again.
If that skirt isn’t supposed to come off, why is she wearing shorts under it?
And I don’t think I’ve seen a single gold chain yet. What is this?

Finland: Whoops, I missed the title.
Oh, Lordi have a lot to answer for.
Quoth Nick: Spinal Tap is not dead.
You know, I’ve always thought that Eurovision needed more synchronised head-banging.
Ha! Wind machine is back.
Sadly, this is one of my favourites so far, such has been the overall standard.
And now fireworks!
NICK: Sadly, Elvish is based on Finnish. So this is basically an Elvish death-metal band.
Ooh, key change.
Aw, look at the fans. That’s so sweet.

I’m warming to these bitchy commentators, but I want Terry.

Romania: “Pe-o Margine De Lume.”
Damn, these titles are getting the better of me. And my wine’s going warm. Why did I start doing this?
Seriously, THAT skirt has to be removable.
Somebody start taking their clothes off, dammit!
Damn, this is dull.
Except for the lime-green-lined, leather shoulder pads—those are both kind of funky and terrifying.
Nope—the whole thing was boring beyond belief. I’m not voting for them.

I need a cigarette.

Woo hoo! Ad. break. Back soon.

Right, nictoned up. And frantically drinking my warm wine. Blame any spelling errors on that.

Actually, I need a top-up. Where’s Nick when you need him?

That Toyota Kluger ad. is the nastiest thing I’ve ever seen. Ooh, more wine. Awesome.

Weightlifters? What? Apparently, one of them’s “massive in the Balkans.” Oh, dear.

Russia: “Believe.”
One of the favourites, eh? We’ll see about that.
Oh, dear lord make it stop. Please.
I swear I’ve heard this song before.
Hang on, is that violinist kneeling? Why?
“I will let him put my fire out”? Wow, there’s that camp factor again.
Is that an ice skater? Oh, man.
Okay, I’m voting for these guys based purely on that ice skater.
And the fact that at least this singer is making a nod towards taking his clothes off.

Hang on, what are those two doing? I know this is SBS, but still.
A kissing competition? That doesn’t make it better.

Greece: “Secret Combination.”
Okay, good start—singing on top of a pole held up by your back-up dancers.
Otherwise this is totally generic.
And “secret combination” is just making me wonder what that can possibly be a euphemism for.
She didn’t really just sing “I’m easy but I’m true”, did she? Aren’t they mutually exclusive behavioural patterns? Or did I miss a word?
Damn! I missed the removable clothes while I was typing. Just my luck.
Ah! “I’m NOT easy but I’m true.” That makes more sense.

Why is a tennis player coming on stage? Does he sing?
Damn—look at the size of that tennis ball! Why?

So when do we get the votes? I want to know if my favourites are going through.

“When you throw a tennis ball into the crowd, the voting begins.” Is that traditional? I don’t remember that at previous Eurovisions.

Wow—he does sing. But not well.

Oh . . . wow. I didn’t notice the masked and leashed men in Slovenia’s entry first time around.

And if Azerbaijan don’t go through, I’m going to be very upset.

Ah, the Andorran breastplate. Aren’t Andorrans supposed to be blue?

We’d quite like Bosnia and Herzegovina to go through, as well.

Finland: butch or camp? (Not my question: some random person e-mailing the hosts.) Nick suggests “bamp,” but that’s just weird.

Ah, Russia. That ice skater tips the balance for me; it’s this year’s woman in a piano, or Turkish ballad singer with a blood-pack under his shirt.

Wow; twenty minutes to go? I’d forgotten how long the voting takes. And how random are SBS’s ad. breaks?

“Fewer commissions”, CMC Markets! “Fewer”! Not “less commissions.” Honestly, people—come to grips with countable nouns.

Hey, I kind of like this orchestra-choir-thing that’s on at the moment. Well, except for the strange arm movements. Very interesting sound: European but Eastern. But not entirely Eastern European. Oh, you know what I mean.

Except now the main singer reminds me of someone, and I can’t think who. It’s so frustrating when that happens.

Ooh, bagpipes. I love bagpipes. Even when they’re freakishly pig-shaped, as this one is.

What the hell does that woman in the pink pantsuit have around her neck?

Ew, the U. K. entry. Not as embarrassing as last year—I’m still blushing—but I don’t think I’ll be looking forward to that.

Germany doesn’t look much better mind. Girl band—and trilby hats.

France appear to have travelled back in time for their entry. And he’s wearing blackface? Not really?

Okay, Spain is now on my list of things that scare me senseless.

Serbia, on the other hand—I can’t tell if they’re trying too hard or if they figure they don’t have to try at all.

Seriously, pink-pantsuit woman—you need to have a doctor look at that. It doesn’t look healthy.

Where did the Greek contestant get that accent from? Is she American—pure Joisey—or is that via MTV?

Those red- and blue-painted people are everywhere! Run, audience members! Run while you still can!

Oh, just open the damn envelopes!

1: Greece. Seriously?
2: Romania. I can’t even remember them. Damn.
3: Bosnia and Herzegovina. Oh, good.
4: Finland. Woo hoo! More synchronised headbanging.
5: Russia. Ah, the ice skater. Fantastic.
6: Israel. No surprise there.
7: AZERBAIJAN! Awesome. I would have been gutted, otherwise.
8: Armenia. Who were they? Did I enjoy them? It’s all a blur, now.
9: Poland. Were they boring?
10: Norway. No, they were boring.

Damn. No turkey.

But otherwise, Nick and I did quite well, frankly.

Not impressed about Poland, Norway, and Romania. Could have done with seeing Estonia and their pop-up beetroot again.

Oh, well. That’s why you watch the semi-finals.

Damn, I’m going to have to do this all over again tomorrow, aren’t I?

Yet Another Advertisement Showing Max Walker in a Less-Than-Shining Light

Posted 14 May 2008 in by Catriona

I’m really not sure what APIA thinks its new advertising strategy is doing; following the scamming-the-Third-World, blood-diamond advertisement, we now have one about dangeorusly rear-ending innocent drivers because you’re not paying attention to the road.

“These days, I’d probably just walk the two blocks home.”

What does that line mean? Is he just priding himself on his physical fitness? Or is it an exchanging-insurance-details-is-for-suckers reference?

I can’t tell—but I’m veering towards the latter, given the horrors of the previous advertisement.

Nick Has Never Seen Apocalypse Now

Posted 10 May 2008 in by Catriona

I consider this an oversight of epic proportions. In fact, I suggested devoting a blog post to the movies he’d never seen, but he felt this would be embarrassing. I felt this was an exaggeration, since—as I pointed out—the blog is read exclusively by people who’ve met him, but he still resisted.

But I still think a man with two degrees in Cultural Studies should have seen Apocalypse Now.

Of course, he insists he’s seen The Godfather, both Psycho and Rear Window, and Citizen Kane.

In fact, he thinks he’s seen the latter many times, which I think is unlikely, but he should know best.

On the down side, he’s never seen a Jean Cocteau film, which puts me ahead in the strange, competitive world that is our relationship.

(Although I note, from looking at, that it’s hard to find Jean Cocteau films on DVD, and that they’re immensely expensive. Still, there’s a Criterion edition of Beauty and the Beast, which might be interesting.)

I have a feeling that I should have been able to think of more films that Nick should have seen—to thus embarrass him further—but my inspiration ran out with Cocteau.

I Give Up on Television Advertising

Posted 5 May 2008 in by Catriona

I’ve just seen an advertisement for Zoo Weekly—or perhaps Zoo Magazine; I neither know nor, at this point, care—that showed the offices festooned with women in their underwear swinging on swingsets.

I realise I’m not the demographic for this magazine, but I still couldn’t stop myself turning to Nick and saying, “They do realise that we make up more than half of the population, don’t they? And that we have the franchise?”

Nick points out that the demographic is men who experience a certain sense of unease when faced with the facts I mentioned, but still.

Half the world’s population, here—we no longer need to work in our underwear.



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