Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Laughing matter?

Do you like double acts? I do. French and Saunders, Fry and Laurie, Les Frères Ennemis (in France), Laurel and Hardy, Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, Morecambe and Wise – they all make me laugh like a drain. Being French and therefore exposed to them from a young age, I even used to like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (yes, I know!).

I am less fond of those married actors who perform with each other all the time or are never seen without each other. Could any couple have been more annoying than Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson (that was before Brangelina, of course)? In the end, they became figures of fun and had to split up. I even despised Judi Dench, whom I normally adore, when she acted with her late husband Michael Williams in inferior shows. Then there are the directors who always employ their wives. Claude Chabrol, for instance, who somehow couldn’t make a film without the detestable Stéphane Audran. She couldn’t act to save her life and, as far as I am concerned, spoiled every single film she was in. The less talented partner usually brings the other one down.

There are no problems when people achieve recognition simultaneously, but what happens when someone who is already well known in his or her field teams up with a novice? The former loses some of their credibility if they let the person who shares their life share the limelight as well – their own reputation is dented, and the latter faces accusations of riding on their partner’s coat tails. If the more experienced of the two is not competitive or insecure there are no sparks, but what happens if he or she is an egomaniac in need of constant admiration? Suppose they end up becoming a foil to their more flamboyant, newbie spouse, what then?

But as much as I dislike couples who work together in the world of entertainment, what I detest most of all are real-life double acts (sometimes they belong to the previous category as well): they are not just ridiculous, they are slightly repellent too. There is something so smug about them. Excluded from the cosy relationship, one feels like a voyeur. Is there anything more unfunny than two people who constantly laugh at each other’s jokes in the presence of a third person, or finish each other’s sentences? They both deserve to be slapped.


Friday, 12 September 2008


Why don’t you play with my new widget... over there... on the right... scroll down a bit... that’s it! Yes, click on Decide!

Who knows where it’ll lead you...

Update (8/10/08): OK, that was fun, but enough playing.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Please bear with me

while I try to restore my blog to its old self.

I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

Update (8/09/08): That'll do, Pig!*
*Know where that comes from, yes?

The Peter Pan syndrome

A recent article in a UK newspaper reported that Japanese society was getting more and more infantilised, as evidenced by the increasingly trivial calls received by the emergency service hotlines – dumb things like, ‘Help! Police! Quick, I can’t stop my ice-cream melting.’ Or – more surrealistically, ‘I think there may be something on my head.’

The UK emergency services get silly calls like that too, although perhaps not in such huge numbers, yet there is another sign here that we are getting just as infantilised as the Japanese: it’s the way everyone has started referring to their parents as ‘mum’ and ‘dad’, in formal situations – regardless of how old they are. It’s bad enough when it comes up in conversation, but when a reporter says it on the radio or the television it sounds inane. I’ve even heard a journalist talk about some murdered child’s ‘nan’! Is it supposed to make us feel closer to the family? Are we not capable of feeling compassion towards people we don’t know unless they are called by those familiar, childish names?

Everyone gets the treatment – a serious actress is described thus in the current issue of the Radio Times: ‘Mum-of-three Geraldine Somerville....’ Ugh!

Very soon, we too will be calling 999 and saying, like those Japanese, ‘I need you to give me a morning wake-up call tomorrow!’