Monday, January 29, 2007

Randomiser #28: 29 January 2007

Today's song: Luke Haines, "Here's to Old England"

"God bless football hooligans and 1966 / The three day week and half day Wednesdays, the spirit of the Blitz / Well kept lawns and little gnomes / Dressing up in women's clothes / Two world wars and pubs that always close..."

This is from Luke Haines' recent album, "Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop", which was scandalously ignored considering that it's easily the best album he's made in years. I wrote about Haines before last year, and you may recall that he has a tendency to undermine the marketability of his amazing songwriting talents by writing bizarrely oblique lyrics, and songs about downright strange subjects such as artistic movements most people have barely heard of. "Off My Rocker..." is a remarkably accessible glam/pop album, which Haines has duly undermined, partly with that title, and partly by including such offerings as a song about the illicit hangouts of Jonathan King, and another expressing sympathy for the predicament of the Glitter Band.

This, however, is basically a list song sarcastically expressing Haines' devotion to his nation. ("I promise to do my duty and cheer the whole team on to victory.") Cynically wonderful.

Also today:

- In an early bid for the "data protection law violation of the year" award, the Halifax responds to a customer's request for a bank statement by sending her 75,000 of them - belonging to 75,000 other customers. How do you miss something like that? It's not like they just copied over her address in the database by mistake - they bundled them all up into a box.

- Proving that literal car crash television really does draw viewers, the return of Top Gear beat the Celebrity Big Brother final in the ratings. God knows it was more entertaining.

- The Last King of Scotland: very good indeed. Newly qualified Scottish doctor goes to Uganda for all the wrong (but commonplace) reasons, and ends up stumbling into the job of personal physician to Idi Amin. It's straining a point rather badly to open the film with a "based on real events" tag, since the lead character is fictitious and so is the central story, but Forrest Whitaker's performance is deservedly award-winning, and unlike some cultural purists, I have no problem with the idea that if you're making a film about Uganda for a British audience, a British point-of-view character helps get the point over.

Considering that we saw it on a Saturday night, there were an awful lot of multiplex-goers who thought Idi Amin would make for a good night out. No doubt the Oscar nomination helped, but it's nice to see this sort of thing doing so well. Mind you, I am in Scotland, and things with the word "Scotland" on them tend to do well here...