Hotel Reviews from Korea & Japan

Yes, yes. I know I’m ridiculously behind on getting photos up from our Korea & Japan trip. In the meanwhile though ‘our’ official reviews of hotels from that trip have been published. So for your pleasure, explore the delights of the W Seoul Walkerhill, Four Seasons Tokyo Marunouchi and, my favourite, the Park Hyatt Tokyo. Mmm… you want to go to there.

Stolicht da Mighty Boosh! Gript!

Through a random sequence of events (thanks Kate) I found out that The Mighty Boosh were doing their last ‘pre-tour’ show at Riverside Studios tonight. And through an even happier sequence of events I managed to get a ticket. This combination of events means that I’ve now, finally and very happily, seen The Mighty Boosh live – and not only live, but in a relative intimate, few hundred people venue. Huzah!

As you can imagine I’m pretty darn happy right now, high on the buzz of seeing Noel Fielding and Julian Barrett, as well as their talented accomplices, execute some fine Boosh magic live and unleashed. The show was a little bit on the haphazard side, as this is their pre-tour previews where they get to iron out the glitches, but then with the Boosh you feel that the glitches and subsequent recoveries are all part of the general mishmash of comic wonder. And wonder it is. There’s something simultaneously childish and childlike in the Boosh, and it’s good to see it brought across in the live show – even in this embryonic form.

Ahead be spoilers… be ye warned…

For those of you planning to attend the relatively sold out tour this year – expect to see some, if not all, of the following as the fine fellows refine and condense their mayhem; Future Sailors performed live (with the added bonus for us of ‘False Howard’ being in the audience watching), Bob Fossil leading a sing-a-long ‘I Can’t Go For That’, Tony Harrison’s genius chat show – complete with badly constructed, only partially Noel hiding, chair and special guests including Rudi with a blistering guitar solo, Bolo with David Attenborough and the genius of Rich Fulcher’s Eastern European taxi driver who does his act without English – Grip!, the crack fox, plenty of new songs and the culmination of the show with Howard’s genius post-apocalyptic epic play about how a failure to recycle will destroy us all (with notes from Chris Martin and an extra-extendary performance from the Fulcher tin man that you won’t forget – believe me I’m trying). Phew! I’m sure there’s more I’ve forgotten to mention, but by the time you see it some or all of it will have changed and, most likely, the chaps won’t be working pretty much directly off their scripts the whole time (to oft hilarious effect) so you can expect more audience interaction and banter as they get comfortable.

Thanks to The Mighty Boosh for an epic night. As always.

Doctor Wood

Well having enjoyed the latest season of Doctor Who, albeit with mild upset that they wasted the Master’s re-appearance and got rid of Freema, I decided to catch up on Torchwood – the X-Files/CSI esque spinoff series. I’d seen the finale episodes before, and felt a bit disappointed that it seemed to rip ideas wholesale from Buffy so hadn’t gone back to see the early ones. I mean – evil old creepy guy, sharp knives and rifts that mean the end of the world… hmm. All we needed was Captain Jack to have a fake sister and it was Season 5 Buffy all over again.

Anyways, having gone back to watch it from the start I can only say that it is much much better than I thought. There’s a great mix of strong character development, realistic behaviors and weird alien stuff – not to mention disturbed humans. It was also interesting to see how far they took Jack’s ‘pansexuality’ (shagging trees anyone?). They may not have had the first on screen male on male kiss, but they certainly have the first male on male kiss between a time traveller and the dead guy he took his name from… I guess that would have been hard for him to become his own grand-father that way but they might have found a way.

Stand out episodes for me were Random Shoes and Countrycide – but they work best within the context of the overall story ark. Russell T Davis and colleagues have learnt some tricks from Joss Whedon for creating emotional scripts, and added some of their own. Definately a must see for scifi/fantasy fans, and maybe even for those of us who aren’t that geeky.

Bob Odenkirk & David Cross in Montreal

Last night we went to see The Line Up, part of this year’s Just for Laughs festival. The format was to showcase up and coming sketch comedy groups, presented by Bob Odenkirk & David Cross – who used to team up for the wonderful Mr Show.

The show was in a cramped, most likely over capacity, Kola Note which could have done with a bit more air conditioning. Luckily the comedy kept us awake for the most part. David & Bob opened the show with Bob introducing a fake ‘David Cross’ before the real David came in from the audience to reclaim his rightful place after an amazing dance off. That man sure can bust a move. They then carried out a short re-enactment of Bob’s attempt to buy coffee in a Montreal cafe, where David Cross stole the show completely with his over the top ‘Qwebetoise’ accent.

After this intro the other acts began, with Kurt & Kristen’s inspired double act of randomness. Their re-enactment of the real first ever telephone call was genius, as was our amazement at how sore Kurt’s throat must have been after his singing finale.

Next up was Hot Sauce, a trio of lads also from New York (there was a bit of NYC bias in this show). Again, very enjoyable with some planned heckling and excessive destruction of eggs before our very eyes. Without stunt doubles, amazing.

Bob & David came out for a brief interlude prior to intermission. After which they returned with David’s ‘French speaking mime’ called ‘Est le petit bonbon’, dressed as a clown and holding balloons. The sketch again revolved around Cross’ frantic movements – leaving Odenkirk mildly stunned. All this physical comedy was a great starter to the main course that was Karla, a female duo from LA with a great line in cerebral comedy. Karla was probably our favourite act all night, offering something that stood out as hilariously different and interesting, in a lineup that often seemed a bit in the same groove of east coast stylings. Go check them out if you get the chance, if just for their glove puppet morality tale.

Finally we had the Buffoons, another New York based male trio, this time with a much more physical approach to their comedy. There were some inspired moments of chicanery in their act, but for me it didn’t quite gel, although Miette loved it. They might have suffered at this point of being right at the end of a long show.

Thanks to Bob & David for a splendid evening, hope you had fun up in Montreal. Please come back soon with your own show!

Oh, and as a minor ‘celebrity’ bonus wandered past Greg Proops and Brad Sherwood (of Whose Line Is It Anyway fame) on the way out. Mr Proops looking very dapper as he grabbed a quick pre-show cigarette outside.