Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Fast Show

One of my earliest comedy memories is watching The Fast Show with my brothers. When I was that young, most of the jokes went over my head, but even then I loved it. Favourites back then were Johnny Nice Painter – so strange and slightly scary, Rowley Birkin Q.C. – hilarious to absolutely anyone, The Thirteenth Duke of Wymbourne and Jazz Club. It can’t be said that it was good clean family humour, but it certainly brought something that could be enjoyed by anybody.

Now I’m older I look back on The Fast Show with nostalgia, such wonderful creations, Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse really did work very hard on the show, and it payed off. Most of the ideas were fairly simple, but they were played with a style only they could manage. In my opinion The Fast Show is a collection of their greatest work even now.

They say too many cooks spoil the broth, this was certainly not the case with The Fast Show. A wealth of great writers worked on the sketches on the show. Most notably among the bunch are Dave Gorman, who now presents his own incredibly unique style of comedy, and of course Graham Linehan, the great creator of Father Ted, Black Books and The I.T Crowd.

I think the most significant creation to come from the Fast Show, are Ted and Ralph. Though the Suit You sketches are undoubtedly most famous, Ted and Ralph were the quintessential backbone of The Fast Show. Linehan originally wrote the idea. The creation process on the show was quite unique. All the actors and writers would meet each week with Charlie and Paul as sort of chairmen, they would discuss any ideas they had, and from this they came up with the sketches they would shoot.

Ted and Ralph may have lost some of it’s original humour, but is none-the-less a magnificent creation, an incredibly original idea, with some stunningly good writing, even now it threatens to bring a tear to my eye. If you discount the comedy aspect of Ted and Ralph you could never be quite sure whether it is a Romance or Tragedy because the end is what would ultimately determine that.

If you’ve never seen The Fast Show before then I hope this high-praise will urge you to go and try it. It presents a wonderful, typical, British humour, which never fails to make you smile a laugh. It is the inspiration for all the modern sketch shows, which, I might add, all pale in comparison to The Fast Show.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Force Unleashed - With some SPOILERAGE towards the end

I’ve been terribly lax in blogging of late, and the only excuse I can provide is that I’ve just got back to uni for my final year and I’ve been getting into the swing of things. I hope this hasn’t deterred my imaginary readers. As a-fore mentioned in this blog, I’m not a big gamer. However recently, idiotically and on the spur of the moment (even more idiotic), I decided to buy and XBOX 360. Idiotic is definitely the word I would use, I’m a gorram student, I can’t afford fancy pants nex-gen consoles. Anyway luckily I’ve managed to avert financial disaster by getting a job at the local cinema. I got the 60gb version with a free copy of the latest star wars game “The Force Unleashed”. As such I felt compelled to blog.

Even since I got the xbox I can’t say that I’ve become a good gamer, I enjoy gaming very much but am far from good, where others enjoy big challenges I enjoy kicking butt in a very easy, but cool way. As such I haven’t yet completed the game on it’s second difficulty level. I started on the easiest mode and played a lot, like every day for 3 hours and finished it quite quickly. Then I considered my achievement, I sat back and thought, “yeah awesome, I rule” but also “no I don’t that was very easy”. I needed to prove to myself that I could complete it on a higher difficulty so I began in earnest. I didn’t find most of it too hard, until I got to the end; I couldn’t do it the first time and sort of gave up.

I left that alone for a while, and picked up Assassin’s Creed from a friend, I’d already completed that sublime game twice on separate consoles, so it didn’t take me too long to finish. This period was also sprinkled with some link up GRAW with my flatmate Joe, which was thoroughly enjoyable. Finally I got back to Force Unleashed. I decided to hell with all these hardcore gamers, I enjoy the easy mode so f**k ‘em I’m going to carry on. Now here comes a bit of a spoiler section, so if you don’t want to know about the end stop reading, and comment on what you’ve read. I didn’t know after my first time through that at the end you can pick who to fight; Vader or Sidious. So I’d heard a lot of hoo ha from friends about the Vader ending and this time through I went with him.

Now my friends told me some things about this ending, e.g. you get re-built into a weird cyborgish hunter bloke by the emperor and become his assassin, and you get a cool new outfit. They did not however think it important to mention that you keep all your upgraded force powers for your next time through, enabling you essentially to go through the game repeatedly, upgrading yourself each time, making the ultimate badass. So that’s what I’m doing now, I’m currently on my third time through in a row. I only need 2 more power spheres and 5 more talent spheres to make the ultimate dude but I think it’s worth going through again. I’ve also unlocked a load of the achievements and collected all the holocrons so I can both look and be badass.