Navy Bean - Don't ask what it means!

Musings on films, music, books, women's tennis, TV shows & more.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Depeche Mode @ Wembley Arena

I went to see Depeche Mode last night at the newly refurbished Wembley Arena. I first saw them at Hammersmith Odeon in 1984, on their Some Great Reward tour at Hammersmith Odeon. Then again in 1986 at Wembley Arena for their Black Celebration tour. But it's been 12 years since I last saw them live on their World Violation tour, also at Wembley Arena in 1994. I remember that Wembley show as one of the best concerts I've ever been to, despite the fact that we were at the back of the arena, far from the stage.

So far I haven't really got into their latest album Playing the Angel. When I saw the set list on the official site yesterday, it seemed chock full of new stuff. However, apart from Macro, all the songs from the new album sounded great live. So, I'll have to give it another listen. [A note on Macro: For me the songs that Martin sings are either absolutely brilliant, Home and The Things You Said, or rather boring like Macro.]

Speak and Spell was released in 1981, so that means I've been a fan for 25 years. That makes me feel old! Not that Speak and Spell was a great album, the singles New Life and Just Can't Get Enough were good but there were some rather dire tracks on it (Nodisco and What's Your Name - wich the band admitted is their worst ever track and with lyrics like "Hey, you're such a pretty boy, Hey your'e such a pretty boy, You're so pretty" - who can disagree!) written by Vince Clarke who left for different pastures (Yazoo and Erasure). While I have enjoyed Vince's subsequent work, it has to be said that Depeche Mode only became a truly great band once Vince left and Martin Gore became principal song writer.

The car parking at Wembley continues to be a total rip-off. How they can justify what they charge is beyond me, are we funding the new and much delayed Wembley Stadium perhaps? I phoned in the afternoon to see how much it would be (remembering it was about £10 when I saw Anastacia last year) and was told £8-10. Fair enough, at least it hadn't gone up. However, when we arrived they were charging £15. I protested, and repeated the price I had been told on the phone that afternoon. The guy explained that we were in the VIP parking area, which is close to the arena (it wasn't, it was still a 5 minute walk) and that was why it was more expensive. He asked how much money we had, I said £10 and he gave us an £8 ticket and £2 change but we still got to park in the so-called VIP area. :-)

Yesterday I read the message board on their official site and somebody was complaining that on Sunday they were sitting in a block with a bunch of people in their 50s who wouldn't stand up and kept telling him to sit down. Most of the people near me last night and milling around during and after, were in their late 30s/40s (largely male) so I expect this was a younger fan. Honestly how old does he expect fans to be, for a band who have been going for 25 years? If you want to sit down, and one person is standing and obliterating your view it can be annoying as I found out. We were in front block S10, about half way back on the left side and after one song people in front of us stood up, and we had no choice but to join them, if we wanted to see anything. However I must say that, standing is really the only option to experience the show fully, as I'm sure the guy in front of me would agree. He spent most of the evening jumping up and down, whooping and turning round to take a picture of himself and his girlfriend with the stage in the background.

At arena concerts there should be video screens at the side of the stage, otherwise how are the people at the back supposed to see? Those above the stage last night were more for the sake of visuals than anything else, which would have annoyed me if I had been further from the stage. My only other complaint was that the sound wasn't loud enough. I thought it would be as the support act sounded loud from just outside the arena. However, Depeche Mode themselves should have been much louder. Everyone around me was singing a lot of the time (mostly out of tune) and I could hear them above the music most of the time. Maybe he was the same guy who stood in the row in front of me and spent most of the evening jumping up and down, whooping and turning round to take a picture of himself and his girlfriend with the stage in the background.

Depeche Mode came on stage at 21:05 and were on for about 2 hours. Highlights for me were Home (one of my favourites that Martin sings), Policy of Truth, Walking in My Shoes, Enjoy the Silence, Behind the Wheel, Shake the Disease and Never Let Me Down Again. I shall definitely go and see them when they tour again.

Set list

A Pain That I'm Used To
John The Revelator
A Question Of Time
Policy Of Truth
Walking In My Shoes
Suffer Well
I Want It All
The Sinner In Me
I Feel You
Behind The Wheel
World In My Eyes
Personal Jesus
Enjoy The Silence

Shake The Disease
Just Can't Get Enough
Everything Counts

encore #2
Never Let Me Down Again
Goodnight Lovers

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Film: London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2006

This year's festival programme was announced yesterday, and I'm sorry to say that once again I'm not terribly impressed. There's nothing that looks as good as last year's Girl Play or D.E.B.S. Maybe I'm being too nostalgic but it's not like the old days; surely more lesbian and gay movies are being made now but where are they? In years gone by there were real events at the festival, including talks with Donna Deitch (director of Desert Hearts), Sandra Bernhard and sexpert Susie Bright. There are no such events this year.

Yet again the programme has one too many old films, couldn't they find enough new material? There's even a couple of films included that open a few weeks or months before the festival, Transamerica (starring Felicity Huffman) and Brokeback Mountain, which rather smacks of laziness on the part of the festival programmers (now including Del Lagrace Volcano, the transgendered incarnation of lesbian photographer Della Grace). Bring back Cherry Smyth I say!

My biggest gripe is that Imagine Me and You should have opened the festival. Yes, it was probably all down to bad timing as it was due to open on February 17th but recently got pushed back to March 30th. However, its inclusion would have made it a festival to remember, especially if the stars Piper Perabo and Lena Headey had been in attendance.

I haven't received my festival programme from the NFT yet so I have only perused the web site, consequently I may have missed something but here's the most interesting films that I've found so far:

Thursday April 1st
20:00Happy Endings Odeon Leicester Square Opening gala. Yet again the festival is opening with a film that has been available on DVD in the US for at least 6 months, just like last year's Pray for Rock 'n' Roll. I give up!
Saturday April 1st
12:10SévignéNFT2Not starring Chloe Sevigny unfortunately.
18:30UnveiledNFT1Released on DVD in the US on 18th April
Saturday April 8th
12:00Show MeNFT2Released on DVD in the US on 21st March, so chances are that I won't wait to see this
20:40The AggressivesNFT1I will only see this if I see Show Me, which is doubtful as I will probably get the DVD when it's released
Sunday April 9th
18:10We Want Gay TV NFT3Clashes with About a Girl. I think this one will be the winner though
18:30About a GirlNFT1Clashes with We Want Gay TV, so may not get to see it
Monday April 10th
18:30El FavorNFT1
20:30The JourneyNFT1Now available on DVD in the US, so I expect I will have seen it by then

Sky+: Solution for Planner Entries with ..searching

From time to time you may see ..searching as the name of the programme in the planner, not only is the name missing but the channel is too. If this doesn't right itself by going out of the planner and then back in, you need to fix it by rebooting your box. I posted about this problem on Digital Spy a couple of years ago, and I've just used it to resolve the same problem I've been having with my box for a few weeks now. At first I thought it hadn't resolved it and called Sky but just as I got through I realised the problem was resolved.

Here's the steps required for the solution:
  1. Remove your viewing card
  2. Put the box into standby
  3. Power off the box at the mains
  4. Put your viewing card back in to your box
  5. Wait a couple of minutes
  6. Power on your box at the main
  7. Wait a couple of minutes until the box has rebooted
  8. Go in to the planner
  9. You may still see the entries with ..searching but if you press the Sky button on your remote, then go back into the planner they should be gone.
It's important to resolve this problem asap. If you leave it then the entries will lose their series links and you will probably miss some recordings.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Film: Final Destination 3

The first film in this so-called trilogy was original, a stand-out film that I thoroughly enjoyed in 2000. The 2nd film added something extra where we learned that to beat death there had to be new life. This third installment adds nothing to the trilogy, it simply follows the pattern of the first movie, i.e. someone has a premonition saves some people from dying and then death returns to take them out in so-called spectacular fashion in the order they were meant to die originally. There are no revelations and if you've seen the first film there really is no point in seeing this one.

That's right, Final Destination 3 is a pointless exercise in cinema. FD2 is not referenced; we don't know what happened to Kimberly and Thomas who survived in FD2. Whereas in FD2 we discovered what happened to the FD1 survivors; Alex had been killed in another freak accident and Clear Rivers had herself sectioned. The writer/director of FD1 James Wong, wrote and directed FD3 but had no hand in FD2. That's no excuse for not referencing FD2 or making such a poor film. I wish he hadn't bothered.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

GIG: Katrina Leskanich @ Borderline, London

Katrina performed songs from her debut solo album Katrina Leskanich to a packed crowd at The Borderline tonight. She was on stage for just under an hour.

This was the first time I'd seen her solo, so I confess it took me a while to get over the fact that Katrina was wave-less; Kimberly, Alex and Vince weren't there (well, I think I saw Vince heading to the bar at one point). Her band were good but nothing can compare to the live brilliance that was Katrina and the Waves. They were truly the best live band I've ever seen. I must have seen them at least 30 times over the years mainly in London but I also travelled to Brighton and Bristol too. The best gigs were those at The Mean Fiddler. Oh how I miss the old Mean Fiddler in Harlesden!

Once I'd warmed to the idea of Katrina solo I started to enjoy myself. The last few songs were the best, although I have to say I was at turns surprised and rather mortified that Katrina chose to relive her past by performing the 1997 Eurovision winning Love Shine a Light, which I never liked. I guess it was inevitable then that she would end the evening with a jazzed up version of the old classic Walking on Sunshine, before thanking Kimberly Rew for writing the song that changed her life.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Film: Imagine Me & You (delayed again!)

Yet again this film's UK release date has been put back. First it was supposed to be released last November, just after the London Film Festival then it was going to be February 17th. Today I noticed it was missing from the list of next week's releases on the IMDB and a check on the BBC website (it's a BBC film) confirmed that it has been put back until March 30th. So that's another 7 weeks to wait.

It was released in the USA at the end of January, and it's a British film and we haven't had it released here yet. The only valid reason (please God!) is that it has been selected to open the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival on 29th March, which hopefully means that both Piper and Lena will be there. I await the announcement of the festival programme with baited breath.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Film: Lena Headey interview - Interview with Lena Headey (Imagine Me and You)

I have fond memories of Band of Gold, which will soon be available on DVD for the first time. Hoorah!

Goodness it seems Lena and Piper got on better than I'd ever dared hope! ;-)

TV: Desperate Housewives

I watched the first episode of season 2 of Desperate Housewives last night and the following mother-son exchange is a classic and made me laugh out loud:

Andrew Van De Kamp: Mom, Grandma's leaving. Alright, you have to talk to her.
Bree Van De Kamp: No, I don't. If you heard the things that she said to me...
Andrew Van De Kamp: Look, I'm sure she was a real bitch, ok, but she's family, so that makes her our bitch.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Book: Sarah Waters - The Night Watch

Some friends and I had the pleasure of seeing Sarah Waters at the Purcell Room on the South Bank in London on Tuesday night. Sarah read from her latest novel The Night Watch, just published in hardback. She was both charming and funny. She talked with Erica Wagner literary editor of the Times; who rather appropriately I thought at the time, in the words of my dear friend Mandy 'looks more dykey than most dykes out there'. She certainly looks more dykey than Sarah herself and sent my gaydar pinging off the chart. This was not just because of her appearance but the way she sat and the fact that she brought her ruck sack on stage, which was rather large. Is there a str8 woman on the planet who carries a ruck sack, when they’re not hiking? However, much to my shock Mandy told me the following day, that she had discovered that Erica is apparently married with a son. Perhaps denial is a river in Egypt after all.

The best news of the evening was when Sarah divulged that plans are afoot to make Affinity into a film, scripted by Andrew Davies (who wrote the BBC adaptation of Tipping the Velvet).

If you want a laugh then s
croll half way down the latest Libertas newsletter. Yes, it's Sarah Waters in drag. It's almost as bad as Val McDermid's attempt to scare off her readers last year. What the forking hell were Diva thinking, and Sarah too come to that?