Mark Watson Talks A Bit About LifeFlaws Mark Watson Tour 2014Hotel Alpha - the new novel by Mark Watson

The very late review

One of the things I’m going to be doing in this blog, over the next ten years (it never stops being silly, starting sentences with that defiant claim, but there you go), is trying to get the tiny little ‘virtual communty’ we’ve established here to work together on a variety of projects. There are already a couple, most noticeably the grand iPod mission, arising from the ten-year challenge. Now for something a bit different.

Because of my new fatherhood duties, my professional commitments, and the general slightly out-of-control-ness of my life, I’m conscious that I am constantly missing a load of TV series, films, books, experiences and so which everyone else is raving about. Or not even things which everyone’s raving about – just things which I might’ve enjoyed. Sometimes I catch up, but sometimes not. Quite honestly, the world is too stuffed full of music, art and books for anyone to have a chance of seeing/hearing/checking out even a quarter of it. This is why we have reviews, essentially: to distill this enormous mass of work into something comprehensible. Writing reviews is a bit like going to the toilet in the open air: liable to cause upset, but occasionally necessary. They are, though, only as reliable as the person writing them.


You’re a pretty reliable bunch of people. And some of you seemingly consume a hell of a lot of popular culture. And quite a few of you either are writers, or want to be, or want to be involved in the arts in some way.

So every week or so, I’m going to put up some things which I always intended to watch/read/etc, but never managed to. Anyone who’s seen, watched, etceteraed it, is then invited to write a little review and give it a mark out of 10. The review can be any length from a word to a minor dissertation, as long as it can be posted as a Comment. This way, we all get to chat about something fun; I get a quick summary of what some fairly trustworthy people thought of things I missed, and so I look more informed and can bluff at parties; I get recommendations of how to spend my scarce free time; and the numerous people out there who are amateur or indeed semi-pro critics get to flex their critical muscle. Everyone wins.


-Debate is good, so feel free to take issue with previous posts, but don’t slag anyone else’s opinion off, if you see what I mean.

-Try to confine yourself to the things I’ve nominated, rather than just dumping reviews of other stuff;

-Your tone can be deliberately upmarket like a real journalist, or you can say ‘it was amazing/shit’, it doesn’t matter at all; so don’t be deterred from joining in by worrying about your style;

-Rick (you know who you are), feel free to review the films with your full critical might;

-If you’ve not seen/heard etc any of the things, but want to have a go, feel free to guess, or say ‘I heard from my mate…’ etc, because this isn’t a real newspaper so we can afford a bit of unprofessionalism;

-Hmm, that’s it, I think. Not sure it was entirely worth beginning a ‘Rules’ section for that many. But there we go.

When a few days have passed for everyone to register their opinion, I will write a blog summing up what the Watson Blog-Reading Fraternity’s corporate verdict on each thing was, and its average mark out of 10 – that’s why I want you to score things, silly and reductionist as it may seem to the more serious-minded critic. Over the ten years we will build up a formidable body of unbiased writing on a wide range of cultural and other subjects. Hopefully.

Once again this is me pushing myself to be an optimist by convincing myself people will join in with something I’m keen on. Hope you will. I’ve done tiny versions of this experiment on Twitter and it was great. But this ain’t Twitter, Toto. Or something.

Right, here are this week’s items for your consideration:


A SINGLE MAN (film; I’m doing really badly seeing films with adjectives about men in the title)

GLEE (TV series)

SOPHIE DAHL (person; never quite understood who she is)

THE PREGNANT WIDOW by Martin Amis (novel)

ONE LIFE STAND by Hot Chip (album; I will get this anyway, but interested if anyone’s heard it)

CONTRA by Vampire Weekend (album; I already have this but want to see what others think)

WATER-SKIING (activity – I’ve never done it)

CRISPS (food; I have had these, in all honesty, but it’s just there in case someone feels left out by not being familiar with any of the others)

Get criticising!

UPDATE 7pm, 23/03/10

A couple of things:

-‘A Simple Man’ should have been ‘A Single Man’. Thanks to those who were too polite to mention it, or too tired to notice it. I’ve now edited it, obviously.

 -Don’t forget to give marks out of 10, if you want to be included in the Consensus. Obviously I can estimate a mark based on your comment, but still.

-Lastly, quite a few people haven’t come across any of the advertised things, so here are a couple more:

AN EDUCATION (film; I know I should have seen it by now. I know)

HOLLYOAKS (TV show. Never seen it ever, at all. Ever)

THE SEA by Corinne Bailey Rae (album. Assume she is quite dull, but that could be totally unfair).

Good luck. Mark x

137 Responses

  1. Rob Clark says:

    Contra by Vampire Weekend – not as toe tapping as the first album but, in “Holiday”, contains the most perfect pop song released since “Hey Ya”. Like a 21st century Peter Gabriel for the most part.

    Buy it.

  2. Conor Mulheir says:

    Yesterday I had some Cafe Nero crisps. They were quite nice, but 80p for a small bag. And yes, I just wanted to join in.

  3. Nic says:

    Glee – dark, adult version of High School Musical (no, I don’t mean schoolgirl porn…) Catchy covers, and a strong plot behind it – I got addicted and watched the whole series in a few days! Few cringey/clichéd moments, but enjoyable nonetheless! 9/10

    Crisps – recently got back into Doritos, both Cheese and Cool flavours. Great tasting corn based crisps, crunchy and light. Cheese can occasionally overpower the taste buds with the powdering flavouring. Cool has an annoyingly addictive flavour, and I can manage a bag easily without realising. Both make good sandwich fillers too, adding a crunch to an otherwise standard ‘wich! Cheese 6/10, Cool 8/10.

  4. MorLeidr says:

    I don’t like crisps 2/10

  5. Ben says:

    i love this idea. sadly, i haven’t partaken in many of the first batch. quite a few of these are things on my ‘I-Should-Get-Round-To’ list, so i might use other peoples responses to allocate my time as much as you do.
    I guess other people using the info as much as you is a fairly obvious side-effect of the whole thing, actually. you probably mentioned it, but i’m not going to scroll up and check, for reasons of pride.

    CRISPS: inconsistent.they often taste like old paper, butKettle Chips will change your life. 6/10

  6. Anna Lowman says:

    Aw man. I thought I’d be in my element here but it looks like I’m on crisps duty. Wonderful idea though, of course.

  7. h2osarah says:

    GLEE – It’s cheesy, cheerful and optomistic. It’s fantastic if you want to have an hour of fluff. Since it’s a musical show I was really worried about how badly they’d work in the songs, but they manage that pretty well. I refused to watch it for a long time, but now that I’ve started, I will continue to. It makes me smile.

    SOPHIE DAHL – Granddaughter of Roald Dahl. She used to be an amazing plus-sized model, then she lost loads of weight and is a boring blonde twig.

    WATER SKIING – Tons of fun! It takes a while to learn to get up onto the skis, but when you do, it’s amazing! It’s probably best if you’re comfortable in water, and don’t mind it getting up your nose for the first little while.

    CRISPS – I think you’ll find they’re called ‘chips’. (and your ‘chips’ are called french fries). Yum!

  8. Adam says:

    Pretty hard to start with. Don’t become discouraged. Quite fun for a bit after. Gets a bit boring. 6/10

  9. StAlun says:


    Fans of Glee spend an awful lot of time apologising for it, I find – recommending you fast-forward some of the songs, put up with the cheese and overlook the clichés.

    That’s all nonsense. Glee embraces those things for a reason – it takes current fad high school musical drama, and makes it genuinely witty, funny and beautifully dark and surreal.

    The music is varied – it’s unlikely anyone will love it all, but you’re guaranteed a favourite each episode. The cast is spot-on – the performers are charismatic, and deliver perfect performances in song and dance, and the supporting actors are unusual, and work well.

    I love it to bits.



    They’re fatty, most of them taste horrible, and there is nothing worse than being stuck in a car with someone eating your most hated flavour. But hey, they’re a savoury snack, so that’s worth something.


  10. Megan says:

    Well, I manage a semi-arty cinema, so I have to weigh in, but I’m on my lunch break, so I won’t get too wordy:

    A Serious Man – I loved it. It might have been my favourite film of last year. Hilariously bleak and pessimistic. HOWEVER, this is one of the most polarising films among my non-cinema nerd friends. A lot of people didn’t ‘get it’. I think you’ll like it, though.

    A Single Man – It is the most beautifully shot film I can remember for a long time. Performances are very strong. Nicholas Hoult’s American accent is very good, Julianne Moore’s British one somewhat less so. I want to move into George’s house. The ending disappointed a bit, but I won’t get into the whys and wherefores.

  11. Julie says:

    re: Glee: It’s over the top, unsubtle and brazen … and it’s wonderful. I t probably only exists because of the success of High School Musical but, if that’s what it takes to make a series featuring kids with disabilities, gay kids and kids who just like to sing, part of mainstream entertainment then that’s fine by me.

    If you’re someone who, while watching musicals, is prevented from being carried along with the songs due to over-rationalising how all the characters suddenly know all the lyrics and choreography …then it’s probably not for you.

    But if you want some uncynical, technicolour, sharply written brain respite, then give it a [spontaneously-choreographed] whirl.


  12. Mr Crisp says:

    Well I haven’t seen any of the things you’ve mentioned so I’m also on the crisps. If you’re talking wotsits then the greasy-finger after effect is repulsive 0/10. But if your talking proper thick potato (or other vegetable/fruit crisps even) then it’s more like 7/10. Whats the average there? I’ll go for the middle. Crisps = 3.5/10

  13. Jill says:

    GLEE. In my opinion, so bad that it’s absolutely wonderful. As well as songs and performances that will simultaneously make your feet tap and your toes curl, there are actually some pretty funny moments in there.
    However, I imagine you’d dislike it. I don’t know why.

    SOPHIE DAHL. Grandchild of Roald Dahl, no? I think so. I think she’s written a couple of books too. She used to be a model… is she still a model?… and now she’s doing some show about cooking emotions or something. Oh, and she’s engaged to that tiny ‘jazz’ singer/ songwriter Jamie Cullum, who is actually pretty good, despite not being jazz. All in all, she seems a likeable English Rose of a (tall) woman.

    CONTRA by Vampire Weekend is, as everything they do is, wonderful. Er, in my opinion, anyway. I just realised that I can never review music… I feel silly referring to ‘beats’ and ‘melodies’. Just insert many positive adjectives and there you go.

    And crisps are brilliant.
    … That was a Fast Show moment. “Ain’t crisps brilliant?!”

  14. Katerina Ray says:

    I tried watching a few episodes of Glee when i was bored, but honestly it didn’t help at all. It’s got the same kind of characters you have seen in a load of other programmes (jock bullies and bitchy cheerleaders) and the same kind of plotlines (e.g. a manipulative wife faking pregnancy) as everything else on tv and then its got the kind of singing that you’ll find on x factor (slick, but completely lacking emotion or decent song choices), maybe this changes after the few episodes i watched but i doubt it. i really don’t think you’d like it. 3/10

  15. I only know of two of those things. Glee and crisps/chips. I’ll be brief in any reviews. Efficiency is the key!

    Glee: Whenever I watched it I always started smiling stupidly at the TV when they were singing and dancing. I assume that’s good? It could be classified as high quality highschool production-esque though. I’m up for some of that though.

    Crisps: Known to me as chips, they come in too many flavours. I’m not good at making decisions. It takes me about 3 minutes to choose a flavour of chips. A flavour of anything really. Less flavours and only have 2 good ones of about 5 flavours. I’d like that.

  16. Emma says:

    Since I’m waiting for the initial fuss to die down before I watch Glee and I’m fairly unfamiliar with the others…

    I’m with Ben in that Kettle Chips are amazing. Sea salt and balsamic vinegar flavour are my particular weakness. A bag of Kettle Chips, a beverage of your choosing and something good to watch on telly (maybe someone will review something for you, so you can choose! :P) is just a lovely, lazy night in. I’d say it’s even nicer when you have someone cuddled up with you, but… Well, they might want to steal the Kettle Chips. And that simply wouldn’t do.

  17. Emma says:

    Big. Shiny. American. Oh-so-slick (over-produced?) musical numbers. Clichéd. Pretty funny. Annoying for a couple of episodes. Will grow on you/suck you in if you watch more than that. 7/10

  18. Megan says:

    Addendum: I had assumed you meant A Single Man and not A Simple Man, unless there’s something I’m missing.

  19. Jenny says:

    I LOVE Glee, although I am in my thirties. Sue Sylvester is by far the best character. I’m slightly disturbed by how it seems to be a refuge for bit-part actors from Heroes, but that doesn’t really detract. Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believein” is still the best song they’ve covered though. Bring on sectionals.

  20. Benj says:

    Let me get started with Glee.

    Glee has nothing to recommend it. It is a painfully stereotypical american high school drama where everyone breaks into song about every twenty minutes. You’ve seen all the characters before. The first few plots are taken (more or less) from the film Step Up. And Glee is sub-par Step Up.

    And yet it works. Is wonderful. And borders on genius.

    I’m not sure why. Sure, the writers know everything I said above. They know they are doing stereotypes. They relish it. And it isn’t that they play with the type – it isn’t that they try to break the form. Its just that they love what they do. They go overboard. They do everything wholeheartedly – without cringing or apologising – and it works.

    They never let things like continuity or consistency of character get in the way of a story – or even a joke

    Its cartoony. It has heart. And I quite like the music (but then, I liked Same Difference when they were on X Factor, so you can ignore my taste there…)

    No. Wait.

    It has the cheerleading coach. She is at least 90% of what makes Glee wonderful.

    Watch it. You’ll enjoy it. And hate yourself because you enjoy it.

  21. Carl says:

    Looks like Ben has just beaten me to the punch in regards to revealing the majority of your list are on my ‘I-Should-Get-Round-To’ list, as I have recently been offered a new job and am sorting my life out. However, the opinions of the community of Watsonia shall determine whether I get round to discovering them all.

    Although it does look like a heated debate shall begin as I shall be giving my old friends ‘the Crisps’ a hearty 9/10. Their diversity in shape, texture and flavour immediately separate them from the rest of the snack world, and not to mention the various methods of baking, frying and consuming. Be it the multifunctional Space Raider, friend-gathering Dorito, meltingly humorous Skip, tooth crunching McCoy or the elegant Phileas Fogg, there is quite possibly a crisp for every occasion. I would happily recommend them to friends, family and fellow Watsonians until I’m blue in the face.

    The only reason I am not giving them a 10/10 is due to an incident involving a friend, a Pringle and a scare on his thumb. Warning: some Crisps may contain sharp edges.

  22. Joanna says:

    I’m not familiar with much of this list either. However, will express some ill-informed opinions anyway.

    SOPHIE DAHL: I assume this is the ‘Delicious Miss Dahl’. Judging by the advert she’s the kind of person likely to get on my wick. If the 30-second trailer is anything to go by, avoid if you don’t like cutesy cutesy, Nigella-esque cookery. 3/10. The three because I’ve just Googled her and apparently she’s the grand-daughter of Roald Dahl. That alone warrants some ‘cool points’.

    CRISPS: Tasty but likely to get stuck in your teeth. Also varies wildly depending on flavour. However, Walkers Sensations (esp. cheddar and chutney variety) and sour cream dip comes highly recommended. 7/10

  23. Sarah says:

    Well, Mark, being from the states I got to see Glee in all of it’s glory last fall. Recently I re-watched all of the first half of the first series (or Volume 1 as they stupidly marketed it) in preparation for new episodes in mid April. Now maybe it’s because I was a theatre geek in high school, or enjoyed musicals or never really fit in with the popular kids but I love Glee. The music is usually great, and that is really the main draw of the show. The storyline can be a bit ridiculous, but the actors are committed to it and the fight between Sue and Will (Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison) is genius. They share some of the wittiest dialogue and best written scenes of the show.
    I think it’s definitely worth a few hours of your time to watch the first few episodes. The show really gets better as the series progress.

    I give Glee a 9/10 because I think it has room to grow.

    Oh, also

    I loved Contra. If you haven’t seen the Giving Up The Gun video yet it’s pretty funny. Lots of random, fantastic cameos. I didn’t think the album itself was as their self titled debut but yeah, fun stuff.

    Contra gets a 7/10


  24. Anji says:

    Ok, Reading the list I was thinking I lacked again, but then I saw GLEE!!
    This probably says slot more about me than I want to admit but this does feature on my sky and *cough* I do have the albums.

    Now personally it’s a show I want to hate. The miming of the songs, which have been sung and recorded, is awful. It’s trashy American high school tv, but sort of has a mix of people, a jock, the cheerleader, and the geeks. Singing. For a compitition that never seems to get any closer.
    Having said this I watch it everyweek. I can’t really explain why.

    The music is good. All sorts covered, and mashed together. And very sing alongable to!

    Ratings – the show is ok, but not one I’ll be buying the boxset of. Hmmm 6/10 for me.

  25. Megan says:

    I will learn to read and not have to post a zillion times.

    A Single Man: 8/10
    A Serious Man: 9/10.

  26. amycool says:


    I thought I would hate this. I saw the adverts and thought it looked like that awful Fame-style ITV show with the dyslexic boy (I only know there was a dyslexic boy as it was reviewed on Screenwipe). Then Gareth Malone said he loved it on twitter and I was pretty convinced that I definitely wouldn’t like it. Not that I don’t like Gareth Malone but I’m nothing like him.

    But then, one Sunday afternoon as we were flipping channels waiting for it to be late enough to have dinner, there it was. It made me laugh. And now pretty much every Sunday afternoon (I’ve just realised we missed this week’s) we have risotto whilst watching Glee.

    What I like best is the characters. The main character, Rachel, could have been very one-dimensional and all good, and the “baddie”, Quinn, could have been all bad. But actually Rachel is a bit of a dick at times and sometimes Quinn is nice and it turns out her parents aren’t very pleasant.

    Admittedly, there are cheesy moments that make me feel sick (much like actual cheese does). But they’re not in abundance – far fewer than in Friends for example. Then there’s the obvious insertion of a boy in a wheelchair, a black girl, a girl who appears to be technically retarded (a cheerleader), and a girl with the worst stammer ever affected, but it turns out later in the series that she was putting it on. Thankfully. This reminded me of the later version of Ghostbusters that was very disappointing. And, as would be expected in a song and dance show, there are the “spontaneous” singing sessions where everyone knows all the words and they start dancing in unison without practice.

    But these slight negatives are negated (can you use negative and negated in the same sentence?) by the funny lines, especially from the cheerios coach, and the lovable characters. And they are very good at singing. And mostly very attractive.

    In summary, a good show to have dinner to.

    8 out of 10.

  27. Clarey says:

    A Serious Man – It is good and funny in a dark(ish) kind of way. You feel sorry for the eponymous man whose life is slipping out of his control. Some of the funny comes from the Jewish stuff which might be funnier if you can relate to it but might not. Ummm, what else? Oh, there is a funny bit where he gets stoned with the hot next door neighbour and the ending is a bit weird. Overall 7/10.

  28. Zoe says:

    Glee: Amazing! Julie has pretty much summed it up, the singing is great and it’s just an instant mood booster. 10/10

    Sophie Dahl: Granddaughter of Roald Dahl (author of BFG, Matilda etc), has written some books, was a plus size model until she shrank and now she’s just a model. Has recently done a food TV series and is being slated because she’s apparently being overtly sexual (come on, she’s just licking a spoon!). She recently got married to Jamie Cullum (short piano player) in secret. Seems like a nice girl. 8/10

  29. david says:


    I watched the first series over christmas. I heard about it because a few people had been annoyingly vocal about it’s goodness. It is escapist candy floss. It ‘handles’ certain teenage problems (read homosexuality, pregnancy, physical handycap-having etc…) without really going into any depth or properly examining consequences in order to create hardships for the characters to overcome throughout the series. The episodes follow a formula of “personal problem-quit the glee club-rejoin the glee club.” that gets a little tired towards the end. There are love shapes of all kinds (triangles, squares etc). A good ensemble but stand out performance is from the cheerleading coach, can’t remember her name now but she is a christopher guest alumni.

    Despite all the textbook teen angst and manufactured emotional arcs, i was hooked. The songs are well done and it is genuinely funny. In summation: Guilty pleasure, knowingly pulls the right strings, good if you like musicals. 7/10

  30. EmmaT says:

    The three I feel I am qualified to comment on are… (not going to go into too much detail as my job is writing, writing, writing all day long)

    GLEE: In places quite funny, in places quite patronising and cheesy.
    WATER-SKIING: Love it, but then I am a water sports junkie! It hurts, but when you get it right it is exhilarating, well it is until you face plant into the drink again.
    CRISPS: McCoy’s Salt and Vinegar, yum.

    Right back to writing about New York…

  31. amycool says:

    I forgot about the crisps.

    I agree with the comment about the wonderful variety. Pickled Onion Monster Munch on buttered bread is one of the most delicious things in the world (I seem to recall Johnny Vegas said something similar on a panel show). And space invaders/raiders are the same price as a chewy bar, which is always good.

    My only problem is that they get stuck in your teeth and they hurt if you have cut the edge of your mouth.

    I’m also not a fan of “posh” crisps as they generally taste horrible.

    So, bearing those points in mind,

    7 out of 10.

  32. Ben Draper says:

    I saw A Serious Man at the Bath film festival and immediately fell in love with it. Around the start of award season I swanned around telling friends that it was my film of the year, a few took my advice and watched it and they have all reported back that they loved it as much as me. The plot was great (adapted from the jewish book of Job i believe) and the script was hilarious. It was a bit like Burn After Reading in the sense that it doesn’t really leave you with any particular feeling other than a sense of bewilderment but it was far more intelligent and the jokes were more coherent and not as childish. Plus there is a serious message in there, I’m sure of it.

    A must see for anyone who likes films and a sure fire hit for fans of the Coens.

    Glee – I’ve never seen it but I’ve heard songs from it (mainly that cover of Journey) and I’m fairly certain I’d hate it and anyone not mesmerized by High School Musical would hate it. 2/10 (On the grounds that some people seem to like it)

    Sophie Dahl – Very pretty but otherwise pretty inert. Has a great husband. 5/10

    Crisps – Don’t really like them, kettle chips are okay; very moorish. 4/10

    Contra – Not as good as the first album but still pretty good. My friend Chloe agrees. 7/10

  33. EmmaT says:

    Ah forgot to score out of ten

    Glee 7/10
    Water skiing 10/10
    Crisps 7/10

  34. Daniel says:

    Ok my ten year challenge is basically to be a little more cultured and experience new things so this is basically ideal,
    having said that I am going to glee, which is arguably not the most high brow thing on the list. However it is genuinely a well written and funny show. Some of the characters are a little one dimensional and a lot of the music is not to my taste (Im not expecting them to play and belle and sebastian anytime soon), but it doesn’t take itself seriously and its basically just fun. 8/10
    Also in terms of chisps I have to recommend the vegetable ones, the beetroot chisps are very good. 7/10

  35. Misha says:

    Glee. 5/10
    I did sit down and watch the first episode, I wanted to like it, I really did. But no.

    It’s been described as “High School Musical for Grown-ups” and I’d say that’s about the measure of it. I ought to like it, its musical, it’s about the nerds winning out, it’s silly. It just get’s on my nerves though. Can’t explain why, it’s just so brash and american cartoony shiny in a way that makes me want to set fire to things and read Edgar Allen Poe in the dark.

    But other people seem to like it.

  36. I’m unfortunately going to have to jump on the thinly-sliced-fried-potato band wagon here as I haven’t partaken in any of the other activities. So, crisps.

    Well, first off, it’s an awkward word to say, isn’t it? My Dad pronounces the word as if it had no ‘p’, and thus ‘Chris’. This always annoyed me no end, but we’re rarely in a situation where the word has to come up now, as we’ve ceased to go on picnics, and I’m no longer a 7-year old.

    Basically, you’ve got your run of the mill crisps, like, Walkers. Now, they’re alright. They’re certainly much better than the majority of own brand stuff. However, I always find eating Walkers invariably disappointing, because the bag size promises so much, and the actual content fails to deliver on above promise. There are just never enough crisps.

    Then we have the aforementioned own brand crisps. These, despite what they might say on the pack are usually just Salted (isn’t it bizarre how ‘Ready Salted’ became a flavour?! An action isn’t a flavour. For further anomalies, see ‘Grilled’.) with some extra colouring to imply a different flavour.

    And THEN, you get your big boys, the Kettle Chips of this world. There are a few different brands, often focussing on the fact they have no artificial ingredients, or are wonderfully organic, or are ridiculously expensive. However, they invariably are better.

    One to watch: Kettle Chips. When you want to feel grown up about eating MSG covered fried potato.

    One to avoid: Sainsbury’s Onion Rings. Look, this isn’t a fifth birthday party, OK?! AND they stain your fingers.

    Overall, 7 out of 10. A solid performance.

  37. Beth says:

    Glee – a really happy, american series about teenagers dancing/singing their troubles away. I quite like it as it is really upbeat (and cheesy, in a good way) and is watchable without having to think about it an awful lot. If you’re in the mood to just watch some cheesy, happy singing and dancing telly, then this is probably what you want.

    Sophie Dahl – Roald Dahl’s granddaughter, I think. Some sort of celebrity (I think she cooks now…?) and is engaged/married to Jamie Cullum. I don’t really know what she does either to be honest…

    One Life Stand by Hot Chip – I really like the band, so really wanted to enjoy the new album. However, there’s something missing. At least half of the tracks feel rushed, and have more of a ‘pop’ music edge than their previous albums. Tracks I particularly disliked were ‘alley cats’ and ‘slush’. Despite some tracks being disappointing, there are some real gems on there such as the title track, ‘I feel better’ and ‘we have love’. I’d probably give this a 7/10?

    Contra by Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend are sort of my ‘summer’ band, in the way that they pretty much make me feel happy and sunny whenever I listen to them. I like this album as it’s a step up from their last one and has some great songs on it such as ‘giving up the gun’, ‘horchata’ and ‘taxi cab’ (I particularly like this track, as the repeated piano part is lovely and I like the simplicity of it). The only track on the whole album that I can’t seem to get into is ‘california english’, not really sure why, I just can’t seem to enjoy it as much as the other tracks. I’d give this a 7 or 8/10.

  38. Misha says:

    Nearly Forgot.

    Sophie Dahl 8/10
    Pretty, related to Roald Dahl but doesn’t appear to serve any purpose.

  39. Mark says:

    Contra: very good second album from VW. I feel it lacks any big single that the first album had, but it is overall a better album. It is quite often being replayed on my MP3 player. I like. 9/10.

    Glee: A musical TV series set in high school, it is a series I can not sit down and watch. The script, the musical and dance numbers are all clever, polished and well performed. But also feel practised and choreographed with in an inch of their life. 5/10

    A Serious Man: Am a big Coen Brothers fan. I liked the film, has good performances, and I liked the central theme on the film (well, the one I got from it). 9/10

    Crisps: Unhealthy and also bad for your teeth apparently (cos they stay on your teeth), is pretty much the only food available in most pubs late at night. OK, if eaten in moderation. 6/10

    Watersking: Not as scary as some people think. 7/10

    SOPHIE DAHL: beautiful former model, the character in Roald Dahl’s BFG is based on her. I don’t know her or do I remember reading any articles she wrote, so can not give her a rating.

    ONE LIFE STAND by Hot Chip: don’t have it yet, stop tempting me.

  40. Sam says:

    Vampire Weekend – Contra
    If you’re expecting the sing along minimalist chamber-pop melodies of their self titled debut then you may be disappointed. That band is still there, but they’re not the New York indie boys we knew and loved all the way back in 2008. They’ve evolved. You still have the bouncy electronic sounds of Mansard Roof and Oxford Comma appearing here and there, most notably on Run. The speedy post-punk guitars of A-Punk and Bryn make an appearance on the single Cousins. But the over-riding sound of the album is a wall of sound, from the glorious bells at the end of Cousins to the jumbled jangled guitars and doubled vocals of California English being a prime example of this. A shift takes place from the largely high-in-the-mix pop keys into a more atmospheric synthesised sound. The bass parts that were so prevalent and strong on the first album take a back seat as depth of sound comes in, with strings being amply used throughout, and songs changing tact twice, three even four times through its duration. This isn’t to say they’ve abandoned their former poppiness, and whilst Contra isn’t as immediately accessible as its predecessor, there are the sing-a-long melodies, indie disco backings and catchy chorus’, you just need to look for them a bit more. To me the stand out track is I Think Ur A Contra, an atmospheric moving slow-tempo closer that almost appears balladous until the quirky scale based percussion sound that defines them enters in towards the end.
    Overall it’s a move forward from their debut, not a reinvention or even a revolution. Lyrically it stays much the same, and all the same ingredients are there, just in a slightly different order. The main feature is still this wall of sound, an idea no doubt influenced from their comrades Animal Collective. A very enjoyable album, but if you like it I strongly suggest Merriwether Post Pavillon by the aforementioned Animal Collective, similar stuff done better. But sounding like a poor man’s Animal Collective is no bad thing, not by a long shot.

  41. Daniel Woodrow says:

    The first time I saw Glee the episode was a bizarre mix of teenage pregnancy, staff violence, drug abuse, surrogacy and cheesey karaoke. It seems to be taking quite a while to get where it’s going, but it’s definitely in the so-bad-it’s-good category. Score 7/10.

  42. Steph says:

    Sophie Dahl. I saw 5 mins of her cooking show on Saturday. I didn’t mind her style of delivery (all about warming your heart, getting rid of melancholy etc) but the one thing that got on my nerves and shouldn’t have is the title of the show; The Delicious Miss Dahl. Just doesn’t feel right! Delicious is for food and even though she is cooking, she should not describe herself as delicious. Anyway, freaky rant over. 6/10

    Glee. I watched it before everyone went crazy and so now find it annoying when everyone talks about it. It’s pretty funny in a laugh-at-yourself American way but the songs are so over-produced I find it insulting. You can hear that their voices are too perfect which does not chime with my “live musicians are the best” mantra. So for that I give it 5/10.

    Crisps. In particular Kettle Chips or M&S Salt and Cracked Black Pepper…excellent! 10/10

  43. Sam says:

    Sophie Dahl
    I think people have been a bit harsh on her by just mentioning her relations and prettyness. She was a rather successful model. Also though she is a novellist, and not a bad one either. I read her novel Playing with the Grown-Ups last year and found it really endearing, the coming of age story of a girl named Kitty in the early 90s and he bohemian mother. Also her recipe book seems to be rather enjoyable as one of my friends swears by it, and from the meal she made me from it I’m inclined to agree with her.
    All in all she’s rather talented, and seems like a genuinely lovely person. Also least we forget she was the muse for The BFG, oh and she is very pretty.

  44. MusingJules says:

    Glee Review
    I desperately did not want to start watching this latest American import and wanted to like it even less. Like Mark, time for catching up on the latest cultural highlights is short and, I thought high-mindedly, too precious to waste on yet another take on the American High School musical. However, as teenage daughter insisted it went on, it took until all of episode 2 to get completely addicted. What’s not to like? It’s genuinely funny, self-aware, manages to give main character roles to gay, ethnic and disabled characters without feeling like they’ve been crow-barred in as an afterthought. On top of that the choice of songs to be covered allows something for every age group and makes room for that little portion of cheese. Hats off to Glee Club – 10/10

  45. Delila says:

    I like this idea :). I have nae seen/read/heard any of the list but crisps though, so I guess i’ll review them then! I’d say they’re pretty inconsistent as snack groups go. Both in terms of texture and overall variety – you’ve got both the classic ridged McCoy and the synthetic stylings of the Frazzle in one highly-contested potato-based category, right there. But I suppose that’s all part of their versatility. Something for every taste, occasion and price range. As well as a source of high intellect dinner-party debate all around the globe (i’m sure). I do enjoy a Wotsit myself from time to time; not the healthiest of snacks though. Not recommended pre-dentist visit, I’d say. One important note: as with many things, the right accompaniment (or dip) can take a good crisp, and make it great. (6.5/10)
    (I’m worried Glee will corrupt me, so I’m staying far away. At least till i’m THAT bored.)

  46. Ross says:

    Inglourious Basterds – Honestly ? The Best film i have ever watched. My Favourite film of last year and the last decade ! i now respect Brad Pitt because of this film and this film shows there is lots of talent to find for acting , not just in Britain and America , but everywhere and anywhere.

  47. Kate says:

    GLEE: When I first heard about it I was slightly hesitant as it sounded like a typical american musical TV show that was probably gonna be pretty unoriginal/shit. But my mate made me watch and although it is unoriginal and not exactly unpredictable it makes me smile and I enjoy the upbeat music. 9/10
    ONE LIFE STAND: I was really impressed with this album! I haven’t decided if it’s quite as good as their album The Warning but it was pretty good all the same. 8/10
    CRIPS: I think there are a lot better snacks. 4/10

  48. Olga says:

    I haven’t really seen much of it but EVERYONE around me has and talks about it an awful lot. So this is whatI’ve gathered:
    Happy, Cheesy, perfect to satisfy needs of most teenagers, a lot of singing and dancing, a gay guy, ruined Don’t Stop Believing by Journey for me with their version, but tahts just my opinion. Watching Glee is commonly considered “cool” and all the “popular” kids seem to be very much into it, so if you’re interested in being one of the popular kids then get watching. Also the amount of people that watch it means that whenever you’re in an awkward situation where you don’t know what to talk about, you can always mention Glee which will result in a heated discussion and probably end by people singing. I’d personally give it 5/10, but then again, I never really got into it…

  49. Tom Beasley says:


    I have fallen almost completely in love with this programme. It has just the right balance between reasonably contemporary and engaging storylines and downright silliness. Any show that mixes hilariously over-produced musical numbers with gritty tales of teenage pregnancy and marriage breakdown is certainly interesting to me.

    Perhaps the thing that endears me most to the show is the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. In fact, I’m not going far enough there. Glee does not take itself seriously at all. All of the characters are horrendously over-exaggerated. The plot is filled with melodrama. Every single musical performance is filled with a dollop of camp that would make even Graham Norton turn away in horror.

    Music is the show’s main focus and it does it well. Yes, autotune is hardly used sparingly and a lot of the principal cast have little or no natural singing talent (with the exception of Lea Michele, who is incredible), but the energy with which the songs are performed more than makes up for how manufactured the sound is.

    Whilst every fibre of my logical being tells me I should hate this show with a burning passion, the rest of me can’t help but be swept up by how adorably happy the overall tone of the show is.

  50. Patrick says:


    There seems to be two main camps with Glee- those who love it, and those who can’t stand it. I love it.
    A simple premise- a bunch of kids form a choir (Glee club) and deal with all the problems coming their way. But there’s much much more than that. Not only are there teen pregnancies, love hexagons, gay kids coming out, bullies (lots of them) and a hell of a lot more. And that’s just the students! Oh yes, the teachers are given centre stage occasionally too, with the Glee teacher’s wife pretending to be pregnant, the nutritionist (at least, I think she is) falling in love with the Glee teacher, the PE teacher falling in love the nutritionist (at least, I think she is), and the cheerleader coach being a general meanie to all concerned.
    Actually, I’m going to touch on her for a second. Sue Sylvester is the highlight of this whole show. This is part great writing, and fantastic acting. She is pure evil, responsible for much of the other character’s problems, and genius. Every line of hers is pure comedy. I offer two quotes:

    “I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat; and then on some dark cold night, I will steal away into your home, and punch you in the face. ”


    “All I want is just one day a year where I’m not visually assaulted by uglies and fatties. Seriously, Ohio, these retinas need a day off.”

    Legend. Love that first one. Highlight of the show. So, anyway, while all these great characters are doing all this stuff, they occasionally burst out into song (not like High School Musical, it’s all in context- and that comparison is completely untrue). As a side note, the music is really great, and they’re all talented. So, that’s Glee. All the haters will say they hate it, I imagine, but I think it’s worth watching the first episode, just to find out which camp you’re in, but I can’t recommend it enough. I was hesitant to give this a 10/10, but I think I will.


  51. Olga says:

    oh, and crisps: not my favorite snack, and i only really like ready salted walkers and original pringles. Also the packs are 60% air so crisps are just kinda not worth it… apart from pringles, where theres an additional advantage over other crisps as you can turn yourself into a duck using two of them. Vey useful.
    Crisps in general: 3/10
    Pringles: 7/10

  52. Monica says:

    I love crisps.

  53. Jamie/James says:

    Glee – 8/10 You have to admit that the idea is genius. Any show that likes to burst into song will make most people think of High School Musical, but once you get past the first few episodes it’s actually quite entertaining.

    Crisps – When I had my tonsils out, they made me eat crisps. What happened to that lovely ice-cream stereotype? 6/10 I’d give it lower, but i agree with everyone that Kettle crisps are awesome.

    I can’t give a rating on Hot Chip and Vampire Weekend till I’ve seen them live. I never used to like Friendly Fires until i saw them at T in the Park. Now I love them.

    However, if you get a chance check out Holy Fuck. I’ve never felt so awesome watching a band before. :)

  54. Alex says:

    Simultaneously awful and amazing. Basically High School Musical for grown-ups. Ish. If you like terrible musicals, you’ll like it. Personally I find it quite entertaining, but I’m not sad when I miss it. 6/10.

    Have to agree with the “Kettle Chips will change your life” comment. I love crisps. 10/10

  55. Lucy Cohen says:

    I will select Glee:

    I entered into the role of Gleek (noun; A Glee geek) with some trepidation. I had liked the trailers but was very aware that as with major Hollywood blockbuster type films, the best bits with all the explosions and snogging were actually in the trailer and the remaining filler would leave me bitterly disappointed.

    However, I was pleasantly surprised when I watched the first episode. Singing, dancing, bitchy high school cheerleaders… what’s not to like? The rather fabulous Jane Lynch completely steals the show, even if she does sort of play the same character as she did in Role Models.

    Several weeks in and Glee is starting to lose it’s shine. Whilst I can fully get on board with the satirical saccharine singing, it’s the rest of it that’s giving me tooth ache. Essentially, you’ll get the gist of Glee from reading this, as the same plot unfolds in every episode. This goes as follows:

    Glee club need to win “sectionals”
    Glee club is in danger of being disbanded
    Main protagonists experience forbidden sexual chemistry
    The gay one pulls a face
    Someone leaves Glee club
    Glee club coach and cheerleading coach argue
    Formerly mentioned Someone comes back to Glee club
    Glee club pull together
    Glee club coach is proud
    People sing

    So my recommendation would be to memorise the above, buy the Glee soundtrack, pick a few songs every Monday night and recite the story above to yourself and you won’t have missed a thing.


  56. Emmy says:

    Crisps – I don’t really like crisps, but I can eat a suprisinly large amount of them. You can never really refuse a crisp, can you? Even if they’re a crap flavour like roast chicken. The salt and vinegar ones are allright though. I think their appeal lies more in their face-puckering quality than the pleasure of eating something resembling styrofoam. I prefer to eat chips to get my potato fix, especially doused in salt and vinegar (there’s the face-puckering quality again) and eaten with a ton of mayo. Mmmmm… greasy heaven. So, in summary – crisps: not that bad. 5/10

    I like cheese curls better.

  57. Becky Meadows says:

    Great idea.

    Crisps, would consider myself a bit of an expert on this, as I eat so many. Have to agree Kettle crips are the best especially balsamic vinegar flavour. Salt & vinegar chip sticks are a particular favourite as well. Have you tried nachos with melted grated cheese – yummy.

    Hope this helps. Looking forward to more indepth debate soon!

  58. Kate says:

    Score: 8/10
    Summary: Gorgeous to look at, moving and surprisingly funny.
    Review: I expected a film directed by Tom Ford to look beautiful and this does – ridiculously, glossily, every shot a fashion show/interiors photoshoot beautiful. But I think I also expected it to be cold and slightly hollow; there, I was completely wrong. Colin Firth gives a stunning central performance as George, a man who’s had his emotional legs knocked out from under him by the death of his partner Jim and is still trying to work out how to get up.
    Based on a novel by Christopher Isherwood, the film takes place over one day in George’s life; the day on which he plans to commit suicide. He prepares by writing letters to friends, leaving money for his cleaning lady, choosing the clothes in which he wants to be buried and having dinner with his best friend Charley. Brilliantly played by Julianne Moore, Charley (a divorced Brit, living in LA) is simultaneously fabulous and desperate; someone who’d throw amazing parties, but cry when the guests have gone.
    We see George sleep-walking through his life, despite having a successful career as a college professor and apparently everything he could want. For me, this was a film about loneliness and some of the best moments are when we’re just watching George alone in the house. Even though Colin Firth’s such a familiar face, you feel you’re over-seeing* a private moment of someone’s life, not watching an actor act. (*Over-seeing (noun) the visual equivalent of eavesdropping.)
    This could easily have been a film that takes itself too seriously, but I really liked how warm and funny it was. There’s a fabulous scene with George and Charley dancing in her living room to ridiculous music, and his meetings with prostitute Carlos and student Kenny (Nicholas Hoult, who you probably won’t recognise from About a Boy) show a man you really want things to work out for.
    I won’t ruin the ending as this is a great film I think you should see, but it manages to be both surprising and satisfying.

  59. Emma says:

    SOPHIE DAHL: 7/10. She used to be mega fat as a child, and now she’s mega thin. She’s married to Jamie Cullum and she’s really tall and he’s really small and I like seeing pictures of them because it amuses me. Also, her grandad wrote some quite well received novels. I think she’s written some books of her own too, but nobody’s read them.

    CONTRA: 6/10 I loved their debut so much that anything else they do will be automatically compared to that. There’s not enough of the clever guitar riffs and light melodies, there’s a few gems though. In particular, I love Cousins, Holiday and the bonus track Giant. The rest is still pretty good but a bit dull at times.

    CRISPS: 4/10 I recently ate some and a sharp piece stabbed in to my gum, it hurt. Because of this they get 4. I suppose that’s prejudice against other crisps, but it really did hurt.

  60. Hannah says:

    Crisps – 9/10
    Tasty and cheap, what more could a student want? Also, good in sandwiches :) Not a full 10/10 as occaisionally random unpleasant flavours pop up to surprise me (mainly Walkers trying to be clever with a fried breakfast flavoured crisp – disastrous :()

    I have no idea about any of the others, other than I am bored of hearing Glee versions of good songs on the radio. Why buy these singles rather than the original, better version?

    Love the idea though!

  61. Issey says:

    Hot Chip album is incredible!! saw them live a few weeks ago, so listened to their new stuff then aswell. LOVE IT! 9/10

  62. Adele says:

    Right then;

    water skiing:
    Ruddy hard. Hurts, but fun. Am spectacularly useless at it so if you lack patience, it’s not good.

    I would suggest trying Real crisps who do a Patatas Bravas flavour. Yummy, yummy.

  63. Megan says:

    SOPHIE DAHL – Have to rate her a 4/10 On the basis that I heard that the filming of her new cookery show had to be cancelled so that she could be sent on an intensive cookery course.

    However, her mum and my mum used to be close friends at school. My mum used to go round to her mum house to play and often see Roald in his shed writing his novels. Sadly they lost contact before I arrived….

    GLEE – 10/10 – Its just fab, I need say no more. It’s also one of those love it or hate it things.

  64. David Hyde says:

    Single Man.

    Really enjoyed it for Colin Firth’s performance, the scene at the beginning when he is told of the death of his partner on the phone several days after the incident is heartbreaking.

    Sophie Dahl

    Amazing eyes. Quite liked her on Andrew Marr’ show the otherday.

  65. Megan says:

    Whoa! There’s another Megan! I’m shocked! (Not as shocked as when I was 3 and found out that I wasn’t the only Megan in the world, though. Identity crisis in a pre-ballet class. No, really.)

    An Education: Very nearly excellent. A bit predictable and slightly clichéd. Carey Mulligan is bloody amazing, though. And Olivia Williams is entirely underrated IMHO. 7.5/10

  66. Rachel says:

    Crisps: Don’t buy Quavers, they’ve gone all ‘credit-crunch’ with the packaging and they just look rubbish now. Try Pringles, they’re a bit different. I’d suggest Doritos but they’re technically tortilla chips, not sure where they stand. 8/10 for variety of flavours, textures and the fact that they make a sandwich occasionally seem interesting. However be warned, they’re good for sticking in your teeth/gums….

  67. Tara says:

    A Single Man is just incredible. I’m not one to get emotionally effected by films and that, but I cried like a little baby at the end of this film. Just perfect. 10/10

    I have to say, I thought Glee was going to be woeful. I was so wrong, Glee is amazing! Hilariously, innocently charming. It can surprise you a bit as well. 8/10

    Hollyoaks has a sort of shit charm… I guess. It’s a bit like heroin. Addictive. Not exactly worthy of a rating though.

    Crisps are great. Without a doubt the best crisps in the world are Tayto cheese and onion. Not the ones you can buy in the North of Ireland. The Southern ones. There is actually a considerable taste difference.

  68. Imogen says:

    Glee – well, as a teenage girl that longs to be a musical theatre singer, I absolutely love it. It’s got plot twists that keep you gripped but not as laboured as something like Eastenders or General Hospital, doesn’t make me feel like I’m far too tame to be allowed to call myself a teenager like Skins does, and, unlike High School Musical, the kids actually have a reason to be singing and dancing (most of the time!). And it actually features some really talented people who deserved to make it. 9/10

    Waterskiing – the most amazing feeling I have had in my life. ever. I’m someone that is usually terrified of anything that might get me a little bit hurt, but waterskiing is so worth any risk at all. While you’re afloat, that is – falling in can get a bit uncomfortable because of the sudden drop in speed. And the fall into the water. And once you get to slalom it feels like you’ve completely lost control. A bit scary. And occasionally you get salt water in y

  69. Kathryn says:

    I’m still in two minds about Glee. All my friends watch it; one of my friends thinks she IS the main character. I feel I have been peer-pressured into watching it.
    The music is perhaps the main selling point, yet it never ceases to annoy me that they just burst into 4/5 part harmony without rehearsal. I’ve been learning music for half my life and I can’t do that. And yes, the plot lines are always predictable and the good guys always battle through the problems to come out singing at the other end.
    It is occasionally quite funny, with a few witty one-liners. I’m struggling to think of any more good points; the more I think about it the worse it seems.
    It’s on a Monday night, good for disengaging your brain after a long day and not having to think too much about complex storylines. I should hate it. I agree with Misha- it does drive you to seek out some Edgar Allen Poe. It’s just too happy.
    And yet I still watch it. But don’t tell anyone. 5/10.

  70. Judy Olsen says:

    An Education is fabulous. What I can’t understand is why Carey Mulligan got so much credit and Peter Sarsgaard hardly gets a mention. Lynn Barber is not exactly a sympathetic figure. I’m sure she does her best to rationalise her behaviour in her book (don’t ask me to read it) but the film still has a hard job to gloss over her snotty, naive narcissism. Sarsgaard makes it all work by making David so attractive and plausible that you can see how the parents could be taken in, and still feel for him even at the moment that his duplicity is exposed. We’re led to believe the original was a lot less captivating (although again through the prism of Barber’s post hoc rationalising) so Sarsgaard not only makes the plot hang together but does a major favour to La Barber herself. Otherwise one might think her 16 yr old self was a shallow, materialistic tart. Interesting angle on the role of Rackman and pals in housing the new black immigrants. And Alfred Molina is wonderful.
    Also a film about a romance (let’s not say ‘chick flick) which has enough depth to engage those who normally don’t like that sort of thing.

  71. Carla says:

    Glee – only to provide some balance. Definitely a take it or leave it series for me (neither love nor hate, then). I record it, and watch it if there’s nothing on or I’m braindead from work or the gym.
    I’m at home with 80s teen movies through to Harry Potteresque stuff, have seen the original Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek and every single teen series that’s come across (lots, unsurprisingly, haven’t) from the US.
    Glee has the elements of sunniness and optimism that hark to Disney productions (both cinema and tv), and very little of the teen angst that permeates recent teen drama stuff. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t deal with ‘issues’ (as detailed above), but it does so in a way that you never feel at the end of an episode that the adversities (which pile up predictably to create some sort of story arc) will be if not insurmountable, at least a bit harder to deal with than with a nice singalong [Quinn's parents were the worst people so far, I admit they weren't that sunny]. So it’s good in times of recession, when the darkness is around us and therefore we don’t need it in the idiot box; but you do (well, I do) wonder whether it’s just all a part of a Huxleyesque plan to keep us happy and unworried.

    So, as I said, it’s a take it or leave it, good for a hungover lunchtime or a slightly artificial upbeat end of the day. 5/10

    Crisps – the English have got a zillion flavours – why not just eat prawns, bacon, cheese or meat? A national obsession, and a foodstuff which should be relegated to children’s parties. 3/10

    I want to see the movies, but find it hard to convince co-workers to go with me. I’ll wait for the dvds.

  72. Sarah says:

    Sophie Dahl-
    Former plus-sized supermodel, then lost weight in early twenties. Big Fuss. Because apparently that is Wrong. General public seem to hate the fact that she was once seen as a champion for the curvier girl and then betrayed us all by suddenly not being one. I give her points for having her body being picked apart a million and one times during her formative years and then coming and slapping everyone in the face with a cookery show.

  73. Stephanie B says:

    Crisps – 7/10
    10/10 for deliciousness. -3 for being so delicious I could literally eat a whole multipack in one sitting; and I have.

    Glee – 8/10
    It can be really cheesy but it sucks you in. However it must be watched for the genius creation that is cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, surely one of the most quotable characters ever. My current favourite is the surreal;
    “I want that set list on my desk warm from the laminator at 5:00 P.M., and if it is one minute late, I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then, on some dark, cold night I will steal away into your home and punch you in the FACE.”

  74. Jenny says:

    Glee: Sue Sylvester (coach of the cheerleading team beautifully named “The Cheerios”) makes the show what it is. Brilliant one liners, fantastic timing – all in all a one-of-a-kind character. The show itself is pretty good, with catchy songs and good dance routines. But Sue steals the show every time. 9/10

    Crisps: I’m a fan of M&S crinkle ready salted crisps – always go down well with any sandwich I’m buying to go. Though yes, Kettle Chips are quite heavenly. Particularly when dipped in guacamole or tzatziki. Though not an overly filling snack, always left wanting more…not ideal. 7/10

    Hollyoaks: Was an avid fan of this when I was at school, but now it’s just rubbish. Seen as the “teen” soap of choice, the characters wear very little for the cold Chester climate, the story lines are quite ridiculous, and it’s just gone downhill. Unless this all just means that I’m getting older/more mature! 4/10

  75. Delila says:

    I can’t decide if i like Hot Chip or not! – listening to them now ‘coz I keep hearing good things, but it’s just causing me distress really. I think I actually love ‘I Feel Better’ but… :s I’m not actually sure! I’ll keep at the listening. I suppose I’ll know some day.
    If making decisions was a tysic, i’d be failing.

  76. Katie says:

    Waterskiiing – I tried it when I was 15. Terrible, but maybe because I had no upper body strength. I suspect it would have the same outcome were I to try it now. To practice (as it’s apparently easier) they got me to hold on to a solid bar sticking out of the side of a boat. I repeatedly fell into the water at speed so never made it to the heady experience of actual water skiiing from the back of a boat. I definately preferred jet skiing, and sitting on the back of one of those banana thingies, so 2/10.

    Hollyoaks – Oh dear. I liked it when I was at university because, well frankly anything on the television was good if it didn’t have that slightly orange antiques man in it. In those days it had Will Mellor and Natalie Casey in it who I do think are funny (I degress). I became slightly obsessed with watching it again while feeding my tiny daughter before desperately trying to get her to go to sleep every night. I managed to wean myself off without too much difficulty though. Full of beautiful teenagers without acne. I don’t think there is anyone over the age of 30 in it anymore since they got rid of the guy who ran the pub. I feel far to old to watch it. Plus points – It has a character in it whose been in it from the start and I am intrigued to know whether he is grooming himself to be the next late great Bill Roache. Also it’s nonsense so it’s not hard to join and leave at your whim. 4/10

  77. thegladsatsuma says:


    Most are nice but shockingly fattening. My favourite were the Walkers Roast Lamb and Mint ones, like eating a Sunday dinner in a bag. I don’t think you can get them anymore though.


    Sophie Dahl

    I am going to watch that programme she’s got tonight, for now though I saw her on the One Show earlier and she’s apparently got a recipe for peanut butter fudge, which looked devine. She’s got quite a large mouth for her face. Apart from that 8/10

  78. Rachael says:

    Sophie Dahl is the real person that the ginger girl in the BFG is based on.
    I don’t know of any reason to hate her, she has big eyes and looks freakishly tall next to a tiny Jamie Cullum. This is the extent of my knowledge of her but I will rate her a 6/10.
    Both A Single Man and An Education are well worth seeing, but if you only have time for one I would recommend A Single Man, if you see it all will be explaind.
    A Single man: 9/10
    An education: 7/10

  79. Steve says:


    I was sceptical about Glee to start with and did not watch the first 2 episodes because I thought it might be a bit too girly. I imagined a kind of High School Musical the TV series. But I heard people at work talking about it and not really having anything to do of any importance that evening I ventured onto the Internet and found myself 4OD. After working out how to make the bloody thing play on my computer I settled down to watch the first 2 episodes of the TV series Glee. I watched the first episode and was immediately hooked, its so much more than a HSM TV series. Its funny, and not just mindless teen funny. Its politely taking the piss out of other American teen drama, the writers have created comedy gold in the character of Sue, the psychotic cheerleading coach who has to be seen to be believed. The characters are over the top and in some cases unbelievably stupid. The story is funny and easy to follow if a little silly sometimes, the songs are fun and catchy if a little sacrilegious in some cases. The miming is awful but I find I couldn’t care less as every episode leaves me with a massive grin on my face. To sum up, I have been very entertained by every episode of this, over the top, ridiculous and cheesy TV show and would happily give the series so far a 9 out of 10.

  80. matt says:

    Glee – in my opinion one of the best things on the telly-box nowadays. Why? Well firstly Sue; the cheerleaders coach has some of the best lines in any T.V ‘you think this is hard? Try audishoning for Baywatch then being told they’re going in a differant direction. That’s hard.’ Secondly; the songs – all songs are done very well (apart from ‘smile’ by lilly allen, americans should not try to sing like brits). there are many other reasons i could go into, but i can’t really explain very well over a e-mail/comment thing so unless you find me you may want to read some other people’s. Now that I think about it my review here seems to be a wast of time. Sorry about that.

  81. Corey says:

    A Serious Man: Never been left wanting with a Coen Brothers film, and this is no exception. See it if you like them 8/10

    Hollyoaks: Easy viewing if you really can’t be bothered to think about anything, but you will feel like you’ve wasted 30 mins of your life. Pretty mind numbing. Even if one of the shows ex’s James Redmond is a bloody good lad! 4/10

    Glee: This is easy….it’s bad. It’s not bad as in ‘2 Pints Of Lager’ bad, few things are, but High School Musical for grown ups? come on we can do better than that can’t we??…don’t waste your time. 3/10

  82. matt says:

    sorry, didn’t rate it. 9/10

  83. Gabi says:

    Glee- Has been able to shed new, if rather sickly sweet tone on remixes, with performances which has spread into the hearts of children and infected their minds. Nice Billy Idol cover by a boy in a wheel chair though. 6/10

    Crisps. I find they can often be both a nice metaphor for the state of someone’s face (i.e M.J was more a pringle, though Prince Charles is more McCoys) and also give an insight to their personality. Posh people who want to outwardly demonstrate their poshnisity in their choice of snack will go for a Kettle (balsamic vinegar and rock salt), and this can also seap into obscure flavours for the more outgoing of the population (marmite, builder’s breakfast, haddock) 3-9/10

    Sophie Dahl- I am watching her on tv now. She appears to be someone with a nice kitchen, who is talking about an 8 year old eating sushi. She seems to be the new Nigella with her sexy voice, however she cares far too much about cheese for my liking 4/10

    Hope I have helped your cultural knowledge.

  84. louisel says:

    GLEE- I’ll admit it, I’m a real ‘gleek’. After being forced to watch all three High School Musical’s when babysitting my cousin, I was a bit wary of it at first; but even though it’s seriously cheesy, it’s chirpy with some pretty good covers (and some not so good ones …). It’s funny and nowhere near as cringey as HSM, even though it can feel a little overproduced at times.

    It makes me smile, and on a Monday night when I’m usually knackered, that’s good enough for me :)

  85. GLEE: 1/10
    Truly awful in every way, the lip-syncing, the story and even the music itself. There’s really no redeeming features I can see. It is nevertheless indescribably popular with many people who really should know better.

    SOPHIE DAHL: 6.5/10
    She used to be a model, she wrote a book once. She’s now trying to become a celebrity chef in the “Home Cooking” genre. She’s trying to capture the sophisticated every-woman. This almost works before she momentarily comes across as a little spoilt girl. She redeems herself by being subversively attractive.

    CONTRA: 6.5/10
    I’m still deciding on this one, it’s nowhere near catchy or upbeat as their first album but who said it should be? It’s kind of like the album you should listen to while lying on the floor with your eyes closed. I need to listen to it a few more times before I can work it out properly.

  86. stuart says:

    crisps- avoid. Healthy sandwiches are ruined by these evil bastards. Chilli heatwave doritos are the crack of the crispworld. star rating 10 if ya wanna put on weight 0 if ya gotta loose it. sophie dahl- fit granddaughter of the amazing Rould Dahl. unfortunatly totally missed out on the talent gene. Once was really gorgeous being an “oversize” model, then went an ruined it by falling for the lie that thin equals sucssesful. Married an annoying piano playing gnome, now talks about food like she wants to f*@k it. rating 2 out of 10

  87. Oh, and

    CRISPS: 5/10
    Hugely variable. Walkers crisps are far too thin and far too heavily seasoned. Nice Crisps (sensations, red sky, Phinneus Fogg, kettle chips, anything like that really) are the perfect thing to eat late at night with wine or if your sandwich is looking lonely. Hugely useful, satisfying to eat and often quite nice. Points docked for cheap crisps.

  88. Ellie says:

    HOLLYOAKS – I’m training to become a sign language interpreter and the Hollyoaks omnibus on Sundays has an in-vision interpreter. Please bear in mind that my review may be influenced by the following:
    1. I would never normally watch this programme unless bad people were holding my husband and cat hostage in a disused meat packing facility somewhere off the M1
    2. I watch it with the sound off
    3. My sign language skill is not yet sufficiently advanced for me to fully grasp the intricacies of the plot.
    4. It sometimes seems to last for about 15 hours, so I often give up before the end.
    5. The in-vision interpreter is really tiny, so I sit quite close to the screen, and the worry that I might get zapped by radiation or something makes me lose concentration.
    So, here goes. Young, attractive and sometimes outlandishly dressed people gather in groups of 2 to around 5 and become agitated to varying degrees about an assortment of issues. Sometimes, older, less physically attractive people appear, but their screen time is kept to an absolute minimum.

  89. Lynsey says:

    Aside from clips of the musical numbers on youtube and the music channels, I haven’t seen enough of Glee to make a proper judgement on it. Going off what I have seen, it seems far more appealing than a certain Disney production ( the name of which I can’t even bring myself to type). However, Glee is also responsible for me never wanting to hear Don’t Stop Believing, in any way shape or form, ever again. And I didn’t even like the song to start with.

    Now crisps I can tell you about. Crisps are nice. Crisps are good. Salt and vinegar flavour Square crisps are particularly lovely, as are Aldi’s sea salt and black pepper “posh” crisps. Salt and Shake, however, are a bit rubbish. There’s only ever about five in the bag and it takes so long to find the little blue salt packet, you might as well eat them saltless. And low fat Walker’s crisps are a bit cardboardy in texture. Still, I would give crisps in general 8/10.

  90. Iona says:

    Glee – As a teenage girl this was always going to appeal to me. It’s a (slightly) more grown up version of high school musical. Haven’t properly connected with the characters, and as far as american high school shows are concerned, for me gossip girl is way better, but the songs on glee are good covers and it’s generally a feel good show. 7/10

    Hollyoaks – I used to watch this and it was really bad because I got addicted. For absolutely no reason as it is really bad. Like really bad. 2/10

    I really want to see an education. Loving the reviews :)

  91. Chicken lady says:

    crisps – devillishly bad for you and will cause you to have a coronary, but m&s homecooked salt and balsamic vinegar crisps are worth the risk. 10/10 for them, 1/10 for all others.

    glee – avoid like plague flavoured crisps. 0/10.

    sophie dahl – pretty inoffensive. 3/10.

    my reviewing skills – poor. 0/10.

  92. Steph says:

    Glee: I love Glee, I know it’s cheesy and is a bit lacking on storyline, but it can’t make you not feel happy. And I’m a loser like that anyway. 9/10

    Contra: I’ve listened to Vampire Weekend’s first album a lot more, but this is really just more of the same really. That’s a good thing, it makes me want to dance. 8/10

    Crisps: If you see any Mackie’s crisps when you’re on tour BUY THEM. They’re the best crisps in the whole world and they come from just down from the road from me. :) 10/10 (but only for that brand, the rest get 7/10)

  93. A Single Man – 8 out of 10
    Aesthetically stunning piece of cinematography. Great use of warm & cool tones to represent shifts in mood. Sharp costume choices as you would expect from Tom Ford. Top notch acting from Mr. Colin Firth. ^_^

  94. MrHodgePodge says:

    The Sophie Dahl show – Mendacious, bogus, researcher regurgitated sham!

  95. rachel (pandora) says:

    i generally only manage one opinion a day, so prepare yourselves.

    you can’t get better than a wotsit sandwich, can you? 10/10.

    ta daaah.

  96. Beth says:

    Just chucking this in here at the beginning cause I’ve been meaning to do it for ages. I haven’t actually taken you up on your 10 year challenge yet, as my life is such a fucking shambles at the moment that I change my (mainly career-based) goals every five minutes. Having said that, in 10 years I will have completed one or more of the following: the bloody teacher training course which is currently making my life hell; a Masters in science fiction; a novel; a work of art for which I will have been paid more than the cost of materials. Also, general happiness and relationshippy based goals I guess because by that time I’ll be 34 and I should have probably sorted that stuff out by then, right?

    Anyway, onto the review cluster.

    GLEE – I love this so very much, but I can’t help but think it’s being hijacked by a demographic who just love a good singalong with some pretty people (Yes, I thought I would set the tone as pretentious and condescending this early in my review). The best parts of it are those where its cynicism is allowed free reign and the worst are when the teachers rap. Arse-clenchingly embrassing for everyone involved. Am very glad it will be returning for a second season, but I hope they won’t ditch the bitchy comments and brilliant throwaway lines in favour of more Rhianna songs. 8/10

    CRISPS – I am a big fan of crisps, especially McCoys Specials Thai Sweet Chicken, which I have only seem for sale in multipacks with some disgustingly obscure flavours and in one specific Edinburgh pub, and paprika flavour crisps from the Migros in Switzerland. I have rather specific crisp tastes. 9/10

    HOLLYOAKS – I fucking hate Hollyoaks. Every time I catch the tail end of it it makes me so angry that I release vitriolic rage at whoever happens to be in the room with me at the time. I used to watch it as an early teenager and then as a student (because, well, you have to, don’t you?) and I am fairly sure they were using the same storylines with a new set of actors who were almost identical except the new set were more ethnically diverse. Also, the spread of accents across any given family is baffling. 1/10

  97. Alex Taylor says:

    Sophie Dahl goes out with a short guy. Possibly Jamie cullum and is also possibly married to him?! Who knows. She’s pretty damn tall and obviously somehow related to Roald Dahl. It’s different to just glee so should help. I don’t quite knoe how to rate a person. :S 8/10?

  98. Glee: mindless feel-good musical(ish) American series. As a musician the musical side of it is NOT rated very highly – the music itself isn’t bad, just it annoys me the way it’s completely unrealistic and doesn’t really fit within the context of the programme at times. Soap factor is pretty high – outlandish situations, cheesy plotlines, predictability … somehow they manage to make it vaguely interesting though. I find myself ‘getting into’ episodes if I watch them, even though I ought to know better.

    If you like unrealistic American musical cheese / escapism: 7.5/10.
    If you’d rather something more profound / intelligent / meaty, probably 2/10.

  99. MrHodgePodge says:

    Apologies – 2/10

  100. Waterskiing – Tried it once when a teenager (a v long time ago) Tip: hold on VERY TIGHTLY to the tow handle: when the boat starts to pull you, it’s a very strong and sudden jolt and the handle can easily get whipped out of your hand – believe me, you feel very, very silly! To be honest, once up and trundling along I found it a bit boring and recall how tiring on the arms it felt. A few years ago both my sons had a go at the sideways-on version with a ski-board. Neither were greatly enamoured or wanted to repeat the experience. So, my recommendation – don’t bother adding waterskiing to your ‘things I really must do before I die’ list – there are better things. (personally, I think surfing is much more fun)
    So, Water-skiing 2/10

    Crisps – only wanted to say that as a Northern Irish girl living in London, I still have a vivid taste-memory of the superior qualities of Tayto crisps, which don’t seem to be available over here. So, Tayto = 8/10

    But Crisps generally = only 5/10 (mainly cos they’re not really a terribly healthy snack – no-one, particularly children, should eat too many, due to fat content and salt)

  101. Gilly says:

    Glee: As I’m in a America, I’ve had a little more exposure to it — I waited until the season (first half – it is now on a mid-season break) was over and then watched all 12 episodes in a weekend. I’ll be honest — it took a few episodes to win me over. It is for, about, and mocking theater geeks, and as I one I (like many others) like it. The music is good, the plots consciously pretty shallow (which somehow makes them better), but I think the supporting cast is what makes it a series to watch. ‘Sue Sylvester’ is one of the greatest family-show villains I have seen in a good while. There is, of course, a mindless teen following, but this is true of many things and I think that adults can, and do, enjoy watching the “drama” unfold.
    8/10 ( The music/cast sells it).

  102. Gilly says:

    *in America

    Also, I have reconsidered. 9/10

  103. Bloomability (Beth) says:

    The only one of these things I have watched was Glee, so I shall review that. I bloody hate it.
    Their versions of Don’t Stop Believing by Journey (one of the best songs ever written imho) and Defying Gravity (from my favourite musical) are utterly awful. Glee is just a slightly more grown up version of High School Musical, and at least in HSM they sang new songs.

    My sisters (Kate,12 & Maia, 8) both adore the show, mainly because they just like what’s popular, and at the moment they are singing the chorus of Sweet Caroline over and over again on the landing. They are far louder than my iPod’s maximum volume, and I am slowly becoming insane.
    I know this is a pretty rubbish review with barely any explaination, but it is just wrong. I just hope the craze dies as soon as possible.
    I can’t believe Joss Whedon would even touch the show with a bargepole, and even though I usually adore all Whedon-related stuff, I will be steering clear. Why, NPH, why?

  104. Bloomability (Beth) says:

    I forgot my Glee rating. 1/10 because it stops Maia from singing Hannah Montana songs occasionally.

  105. Kerri says:

    Glee – seems to be the epitome of all that I hate about tv, so I will be avoiding it at all costs.

    Hollyoaks – as above

    A Serious Man – Coen brothers doing what they do best 9/10

    A Single Man (I have also said simple instead of single every time I have mentioned this movie and don’t know why, it’s infuriating) – a bit arty and some strange visual saturation going on all the way through, supposed to be a style but not quite sure it worked. Great acting from Colin Firth though. 8/10

    An Education – Great start for Carey Mulligan and amazing support from Peter Sargaard and Alfred Molina. Will be looking out for more from her in the future. The film itself was above average but not amazing 7/10

    Hot Chip- haven’t heard the album but the video directed by Peter Serafinowicz for the first track, One Life Stand, is AWESOME!

    Sophie Dahl- Very pretty girl, obviously. I watched her effort as the new Nigella earlier. I think she’s a bit off with the fairies myself, but some of the food looked lovely. 4/10

    Haven’t tried water skiing but have tried jet skiing. Immense fun with less risk of falling on your face! 10/10

    Crisps – It’s gotta be wotsits or quavers. 10/10

  106. Madeleine says:

    A single man – Gorgeous, incredible, heartbreaking. You will hear (and probably have heared, I haven’t read all the previous comments because they number about 90 at this time) about how beautiful the imagery of this film is and how just good looking it is. This is completely true, but the most important part is that it doesn’t take over the narrative, the emotional story and the preformances but instead compliments them tremendously. Colin Firth is phenomenal, giving a restrained, unraveling from the inside preformance, he was ROBBED at the oscars. All the acting is great, though I did have trouble not yelling out “It’s Tony! Tony from skins!! Hey Tony!” when Nicholas Hoult came on. I think this film should definatly have won more awards than it did, though I’ve not seen the Hurt Locker.
    Vampire Weekend “Contra” – I love it! Its not a huge departure from their first album, but the sound is always interesting and you get something new out of it on repeated listens. Their tickets sold out so fast in Brisbane that I’m flying to Sydney to see them live and I can’t wait.
    Glee (I’ve watched about two episodes but everyone else is commenting on it…) – I find it boring and a bit annoying but my mum loves it….

  107. Madeleine says:

    Shit! Ratings – A single Man – 9/10, Contra 8/10

  108. Robyn says:

    Glee – 9/10 one of the best tv series on recently – amazing singing from broadway actors/actresses and general hilarity and briliantness. so much better than say high school musical – they can actually sing/act and the story lines are brilliant. Sue Sylvester is the cynic/critic/general sabotager and is so funny – that’s how Sue C’s it – is her crazy opinion on things! I love it, as do a lot of women and not that many men.

    Crisps – 9/10 also brilliant but bad for you, though the taste outweighs the badness…personal favourite is walkers cheese and onion – smell horrendous after you have eaten them but so tasty :) yum

    the rest I have not seen/experienced, though I spent all summer by a lake in America and watched copious amounts of kids learning to waterski and it looks hard and like a lot of effort. but worth it and great fun! 8/10

  109. rachel winter says:

    ah now CRISPS *blows on fingers and rubs hands together* crisps I know about!
    at the moment I am addicted to walkers chicken flavour,they’re very more-ish (theyve got that savoury gravyish taste which might come under that umami they’re all on about now)

    GLEE – I started off loving the first 2 episodes, but kind of got very ‘meh’ towards it by the fourth and fifth episode. So maybe watch it if its on, but dont rush around like a loon trying to catch it.

  110. rachel winter says:

    ah and yes I DID forget the scores:

    Crisps 10/10
    Glee 7/10

    late entry – SOPHIE DAHL (or the model with the powerpuff eyes as I like to call her) seems lovely, but lettuce is not a sandwich. Cool grandad though.
    rating 9/10

  111. Delila says:

    Re: Bloomability (Beth). Wow I did NOT know Joss Whedon was involved with Glee! I guess he really liked that musical Buffy episode eh. Interesting. V. interesting…

  112. Catherine says:

    Can’t help y’all this week. I cand rent A Single Man, which I might do this weekend. A Pregnant Widow comes out May 11 in America. That’s 4 days before I leave for Europe. Probably can get it to read on the way over unless, Mark, you come up with another book you would like to know about which is currently available in U.S.

    This should be fun.

    Good night!

  113. Alice says:

    Water-skiing: when I was little my mum decided to try out water-skiing on a family holiday. On her first attempt she got her legs tangled up with the wires. When the boat started up, the handle was ripped out of her hands, the wires ripped across the inside of her thighs, ripping enormous welts into them. Result: one day at hospital, family holiday ruined, plus a life-time of shudders at the mere mention of anything water-skiing related. Score: 0/10

    On a happier subject, An Education is the best film I saw last year: sharp storytelling, fabulously acted. 8/10

  114. Phill says:

    I’m a bit late to the party but I’m going to go for it anyway, without reading what anyone else has said. So, sorry if this is just rehashing the same old stuff.

    GLEE: Watched all the episodes so far. It’s half really good and half… a bit crap. What I mean by that is, they have some genuinely touching moments – quite understated actually, a bit like a good British show. But then they have moments of utter madness where the characters just oscillate wildly between being one thing and another.

    Also, pretty much all the characters behave quite badly – as in, do the wrong / immoral thing. This didn’t sit right with me, it was actually quite tough to watch.

    Summary: If you’re going to watch it, watch it for the music. 6/10.

    VAMPIRE WEEKEND – CONTRA: Really didn’t like it as much as the first album. I can’t put my finger on exactly why (just as well I’m not a music critic then, eh?) but it just didn’t have the same sense of fun that the first album did.

    Summary: Decent album but disappointing compared to the first. 7/10.

  115. Ally says:

    I’ve only watched Glee and eaten crisps…. And these seem to be two of the most popular reviewed things.

    Glee is probably a 7 out of 10. The singing is quite good and the plot isn’t half bad. Although sometimes the characters seem a little… overbearing. But that might just be me.

    Crisps are a solid 10/10, although I call them chips. When placed inside a buttered roll the combined might of both these foodstuffs places them at an 11/10 rating.

    Now I’m hungry :P

  116. Dawn says:

    GLEE – Watched one – didn’t grab me 3/10

    ONE LIFE STAND by Hot Chip The single is excellent so I am hopeful for album 6/10

    CONTRA by Vampire Weekend Sublime – as good (if not better) as the first in my opinion. Highlights – Giving Up the Gun and Run 9/10

    AN EDUCATION Sublime – cast excellent – story involving (and based on real-life – who’d a thunk it) 8/10

  117. Lauren says:

    Glee is pretty good, but it’s better if you record it and watch it back later. That way you can skip the musical numbers.


  118. Annie says:

    Just bought and watched An Education.
    Beautiful film, well acted and directed.
    Beautiful and interesting re growing up, love, excitment, ambition, life in the 50s and 60s.
    But it was uncomfortable in that it’s about a man in mid thirties picking up a 16 year old schoolgirl. Would have been less sleazy if she had been a few years older.
    So potential for an 8/9 out of ten – but with the uncomfortable feeling bringing it down to maybe a 6/7 out ten.

  119. Ana says:

    My two pennorth worth…

    Sophie Dahl
    Marrying a very short man. Jazz singer I believe. Stunning and very tall. Writes books about food, bizarre for a skinny model. 7/10.

    A Single Man
    Depressing. But not bad for it. Beautiful to watch – everything and everyone in it is absolutely stunnning, most of the rest of it fades next to Colin Firth who is absolutely brilliant in this. Suffers slightly for the comparison. Worth seeing – 6/10

    An education
    Lovely, heartwarming film. Would teach you not to trust anyone. Ever. If you didn’t remember it was fiction… Will finish watching it with a massive crush on Carey Mulligan – 8/10

    Yum. Especially salt and vinegar. 9/10

  120. Billybobsteele says:


    I just ate 2 small Pringle tubes and there’s still room for lunch! They cover pretty much every flavour, size, shape and quantity so there’s something for everyone. If there’s a food you’re not sure you want to try, first try crisps of that flavour to find out if it’s the thing for you!


  121. Rob Millard says:

    Water Skiing – Tried it for a bit once. Largely consisted of face-planting into cold water followed by spluttering and groaning. Can imagine it’s great fun if you get it right though. 3/10

    Crisps – Brilliant, but not nutritious or healthy at all. A once a week complement to a sandwich rather than the keystone of your diet. 5/10

    Hollyoaks – The actors are dreadful and the storylines are either ridiculous or mundane, but the main thing that upsets me is when try to be arty with the little “concept” bits – they make me want to eat my own head. 0/10

  122. Rachel says:

    Everyone seems to have reviewed Glee and Crisps (I’d give both 8) so I’ll do A Serious Man.

    I love most things that the Coen Brothers do and this one didn’t disappoint. I agree that it left a sort of confused feeling at the end but that’s why I love the Coen brothers.
    The script was funny and intelligent and it’s probably one of my favourites of theirs.

  123. Rachel says:

    For some reason I got an emoticon come up instead of the number 8

  124. Kat says:

    Glee- I love it! I know I should probably be ashamed of this but I’m not. The numbers are well sung with an original spin on each, the acting is good and I never fail to feel better having watched an episode and danced like a loon around my tiny Uni room to each song. Amidst the generally cheesiness there is also a surprisingly high level of sarcasm and the plot is quite darkly twisted in places. In short, after the first episode (which I admit was a bit too saccharinely sweet) it just keeps getting better. And also the characted of Sue Sylvester, the ‘Gym’ teacher, has some of the funniest lines I have ever heard! 9/10

  125. Julie says:

    Just realised I didn’t leave a score out of 10 for Glee [Comment 11] and if you don’t have the correct figures how ever can you give you fully scientific results? So you’d better have this: 7/10.

  126. Debbie C says:

    Glee – I’ve watched all the episodes that have been on so far and still can’t really decide whether I like it. But I do keep making the effort to watch it every week, so it should get some points for that at least. I’m a fan of musicals so I like the theatrical musical numbers, and the storylines seem to be getting more interesting as the series goes on. It’s very silly and unrealistic but that’s sort of the point; mostly it’s just fun. And there are occasionally some quite touching moments. (I’m starting to convince myself that I must actually like it!) Having said that, I wouldn’t buy it on DVD. Score: 6/10.

    Crisps – Although I much prefer savoury things to sweet, I also don’t like things that are too salty. So for me the best crisps to go for are plain Hula Hoops, or those square ones that I think are actually called Squares. These have a nice savoury flavour rather than a much-too-salty taste. In general, though, if I was recommending a savoury but not-too-salty-tasting snack, I’d probably just say avoid crisps altogether and have a mini sausage roll or something. Crisps are handy though because they come in a bag and don’t have to be kept in the fridge. Overall score: 4/10.

  127. Hannah says:

    Hmmm…Sophie Dahl, absolutely stunning, tall, Roald Dahl’s grandaughter, the most adorable clip of her saying something or other about him when she was about 4 played every time shes on anything, married amazing jazz guy, so…9/10

    Glee – BRILLIANT but marks get taken off for making me wish I was talented, but then put back on again for giving me another unattaable goal that I can strive for. So, 8/10.

  128. Hannah says:

    Oh, Hollyoaks too :):

    Nevr know whats going on until you’ve seen a months worth of shows, everyone is so young and pretty that it’s totally unrealistic in a sort of fun way, but when you see the occasional less-than-attractive person you blech and then feel ashamed of yourself. Or you look in a mirror with the same result.
    But, as frothy nonsense on in the background,easy to laugh at if not with, it gets 4/10

  129. tothesky says:

    An Education

    I watched this a few weeks back on the plane. I didn’t enjoy it at all. I didn’t like any of characters and could not warm to any of them. The girl in the lead role (Carey Muligan) was particularly annoying and I couldn’t bring myself to sympathise with her at all. Something just didn’t feel right about it. Maybe I just dislike the fact that I was expected to like it and now feel left out simply because I didn’t. 5/10

    Vampire Weekend – Contra

    Absolutley love it. I don’t now enough about music to comment on melodies and beats etc but I love songs which make me happy or make me want to dance or feel anything. It’s not spectacularly different from their debut album but I don’t think that’s a paticularly bad thing. I have to listen ‘Run’ every day now or my day isn’t complete. 8/10

    For other ‘proper’ movie reviews you need Ultra Culture in your life.

  130. Sarah says:

    I’m a great fan of Glee. Ok, so the acting is awful, but most of the musical numbers are great. Some of the characters are also really well thought out, especially, as many people have said, Sue Sylvester. It’s a nice feel-good series, needing little thought and always leaves me smiling.

  131. ElizabethD says:

    A Single Man–
    There have been a lot of movies about a character dealing with grief. None of the others did it right.

  132. Rose says:

    Glee: One of my gay friends was raving about it and usually his taste is impeccable. I only made it through the first ten minutes of episode 1 then switched it off and have never gone back. When it comes to series, I love and prefer Damages. Very intelligent. Very dark. Demanding entertainment, if that makes sense. Glen Close’s acting is amazing, she is just pure evil.

    Water-skiing: Have only done it once as a part of a team-building exercise. Loved it. Most people struggeld getting started, it needs strenght but also good balance. In my case, being a keen skier helped. However, I am sure there is a way to minimise the impact of a fall. Well, we did not know and I ended up with two heavily bruised arms. Still, I am planning to do it again this summer.

    Sophie Dahl: Much prefer her grandfather, Roald Dahl (his short stories are the creepiest thing ever). I seem to recall that she used to be a “curvy” model but I think she has gone back to being waifer thin. Love her complexion though, very aristocratic pale.

    Crisps: Living in Switzerland (I am a native by the way), I miss the variety offered in the UK. Over here, crisps are either salted or covered in paprika. Only recently, Salt&Vinegar crisps have hit the stores but they seem to be popular. Hooray! You can get English brands but at a ridiculous cost.

  133. lisa brunders says:

    Hi Mark, sorry I’m late. Great idea, love it.

    Glee 4/10 watched first episode, agree with comments saying it’s good and bad. Loved the music, but not watched it again, so far.

    Crisps 7/10, would say 10/10 except for health reasons. I love them, salt n vinegar or prawn cocktail my favourite. Once visited a crisp factory and ate warm, unflavoured, crisps from the production line. Delicious. With crisps the fresher the better.

  134. Hannah says:

    Oh and I’ll do Contra too, because this is fun

    It’s very good, if you like the rest of Vampire Weekend’s music. Kind of quirky, offbeat, but just mainstream enough to be popular. Not as good as their first album, but then that was amazing. You should buy it. But if you haven’t got their first album (Vampire Weekend) buy that instead.
    Overall rating…7/10

  135. John says:

    Not many people seem to have tackled A Serious Man, so I’ll jump on that.

    I meant to review this for my rather feeble blog (above) when I saw it, but life intervened. I wish I’d got something down on paper at the time now, because I enjoyed it hugely and, never having seen a Coen Brothers film before, I suppose it’ll be my personal benchmark for any offerings of theirs in future.

    I don’t think I have ever seen a film which managed to be so funny without a single positive thing happening in it – ‘funny and heartwarming’ has been done to death as a sub-genre, as have ‘shocking but hilarious’ and ‘action-packed comedy thrill-ride’, so it was lovely to see a genuine tragicomedy which delivered the goods without feeling like it had been left overnight to soak in a tank of concentrated pathos. I shan’t give anything specific away, but essentially the film follows the intensely ordinary Larry, a lecturer, as his life gently collapses in the same way hundreds do every day – Michael Stuhlbarg does an extraordinary job of playing an utterly unexceptional fellow, which must be umpteen times harder than delibering a larger-than-life caricature of a part, and the supporting cast doesn’t miss a note.

    I suppose its reasonably heavy use of what I’m assured were excellent Jewish in-jokes makes it less accessible for goyim, but their inclusion was balanced so that they contributed to the film’s comedy for those ‘in the know’ whilst not actively detracting from the enjoyment of others. And if that’s the worst criticism of it I can find, it can’t be bad.


  136. Knox says:

    there are way too many comments for to even attempt reading them all, so will just jump in with a few sort of reviews:

    – hollyoaks – never waste your life watching it – ever. i have less time for hollyoaks than people who fell off the ‘lost’ bandwagon did for season 3 (i loved ‘lost’ by the way). it is just so trashy and tries hard to be cool, but above all has stuff in that i think is quite explicit for the time it’s on (i may come across as a prude, but some of the stuff on there is not what i want my niece to be seeing, and it’s not as if it’s on after or even close to the watershed). it takes all the worst things about soaps (the endless affairs, unlikely plot twists) and doesn’t have the loveable bits about it to redeem them. i used to watch it quite a bit when it first started and i think didn’t mind it so much, but just tuning in a few times recently (well, probably not for over a year now), i’ve just been a bit shocked by how bad it is.
    – Glee – i’ve only seen a couple of episodes, and think it’s cheesy, but do love it. it’s fun and silly, and has people singing – definitely not one to check out if you’re not into musical-type-things (i very much am) or american-type-things

  137. Knox says:

    ooh, marks out of ten (i realise these are too late to count, but….) hollyoaks – 0/10 (unless we can give minus marks?)
    Glee – 5/10

Leave a Reply