Monday, 16 February 2009

Friday the 13th and Cherry Chapstick

X Factor has been exported to Italy and the current series is in full swing, now down to the finalists.

Forget Simon Cowell or Mrs Ozzy, on this one you have what looks like The Fast Show's Channel 9 ('skochio!'). Two clapped out old geriatrics on the panel, plus a camp old rock star judging a selection of final singers that wouldnt've have made it past Simon Cowell's venomous hazings in the first round on the UK version.

I was attempting to meditate last night in my bedroom (and yes I did spell that correctly) when the delights of what sounded like a drunken karaoke rendition of “I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It” were screeched out of the TV.

After hurtling into the lounge I was confronted by three dolly birds in little dresses sounding not dissimilar to Arnie in Terminator 2, putting all the emotion of a lobotomised chav into the song (e.g. “taste of hurrr cherrry chaarpsteek”).

After much giggling I nearly peed my boxers when a trio of clean cut young men came on with beaming smiles and waved at the audience, only to be introduced as 'The Bastard Sons of Dionosis'. Whether that's a genuine band name or they are brothers and hate their dad remains a mystery.

Genuine kudos however have to go to finalist Danielle, who looks like a cross between Dane Bowers and Woody Allen. During his routine even some of the backing dancers had their hands over their ears.

And lest we forget the feminine delights of a singer called (I kid yee not) CHOPS.

Ahhh, that DID cheer me up. Move over Leona Lewis, the Bastard Sons are here.

Valentine's Day draws ever nearer. I'm not even remotely arsed if I receive nowt, mainly because most Valentine gifts for men don't extend to a six pack of Guinness and a date with Cristina Aguilera when she's wearing a maxi skirt and no knickers.

While teaching tonight I was discussing the significance of Valentine's Day with my mainly female students and mused that most of them would be getting a “surprise” breakfast in bed, a dozen red roses and a box of chocs. I suggested that most women when faced with this would smile politely while secretly wishing Jack Sparrow would come crashing through the bedroom window. I further surmised that maybe being lifted from your bed while still asleep at 5am and whisked away to Paris for the weekend would be far more romantic.

One student then put her hand up and said “can you phone my boyfriend please?”

Still, the day before is Friday the 13th and the long promised reboot of the Jason Voorhees saga is on worldwide release. The trailers on TV look like the dog's bollocks, especially as the bloke playing Jason is even bigger than Kane Hodder (most fans' fave actor to don the hockey mask) and it will hopefully be to Crystal Lake what Daniel Craig was to the double oh prefix.

Two of my students aged 13 and 16 were in the computer room at the school just before the lesson started on Monday, watching the end of Saw 5 on YouTube with the volume muted. I knew what was coming and kept quiet but sat in the next room and listened.

Sure enough, a couple of minutes later you could hear “Urrgh! Che DISGOSTOSO!!!” and in class shortly after they were moaning about just how gross it was when the bone snapped out the bloke's arm and that they were fully expecting the walls to open again at the last moment. They said this was the most disgusting thing they'd ever seen. Following lesson they took a mate up to have a look as well. Reminds me of when I was a kid and used to take Fangoria magazine to school. Everyone would say how sick I was, while leisurely perusing each page and goggling Tom Savini's finest work.

Friday 13th was entertaining, although the “lingua originale” that intermittently shows its face at the local Warner Village was absent so I had to put up with hormonal, pot smoking, beer glugging “teenagers” (i.e. actors in their mid twenties) talking in Italian. The film is an improvement on all the previous Friday films except the first one from 1980 (movies I loved when I first saw them but am embarrassed to watch again now and as for Freddy vs. Jason....well, let's put THAT dog to sleep). Unlike the previous installments you got a good gawp at probably 4 different pairs of tits and a mutually orgasmic shag to boot. The violence was realistically nasty and the scares were actually scary. Most importantly though Jason is, for the first time ever, A PANTS WETTINGLY SCARY MOTHERFUCKER.

For some reason, in all the Friday movies thus far, it has been considered frightening to have Jason Voorhees walk everywhere while in pursuit of prey. This means that you had the stupid scenarios of adrenalin fuelled, terrified, running victims and him STILL managing to catch them up, usually due to people blundering into a cul-de-sac, breaking an ankle or ole Jasey lobbing an axe at them from afar. He never looked pissed off and was basically the “English Gentleman Butler” of undead, relentless, serial killers with his calm demeanour, lack of emotion and silent attentiveness to his chosen profession. Only when Kane Hodder donned the hockey mask in parts 7- 10 (and yes I was pissed off too when they gave part 11 to someone else for having “sympathetic eyes” for fuxake) did we finally get some aggression into the role.

THIS reboot of Pamela's favourite retarded son has a very fast, monumentally pissed off and immensely strong psychopath. The scene at the beginning with the camp fire, the bit when he's chasing that bloke with the axe and the final fight in the barn are all proof that having Jason move like an angry, deformed express train is much more effective than the gently strolling hulk from yesteryear.

I do get the feeling though, that the “sleeping bag and camp fire” scene is just for the cinema version and an Unrated Director's Cut is just waiting to make us all ralph up our breakfasts in a few months when the DVD comes out.

Sunday is usually boring in Rome, that is if you stay at home. I've vowed to shake off my seemingly tattooed in melancholy and today took the Tube into Colosseum for a stroll around the majesty of ancient Rome with a female friend. In 1997 when I first lived here, the Flavian amphitheatre was free to enter. Now they've partially restored the floor over the “village” (i.e. the complex of tunnels in the basements below the main arena where Christians, lions and myrmillos were kept before being shoved out to spew their guts on the sand) it's 12 Euros to get in which is taking the piss by anyone's standards. Chatted to an Italian Carabiniero (elite of the Italian police) while waiting for my pal to show up who let me take his photo provided I promised not to put it on the Internet (yeah, right) and said that in his opinion the English police weren't a load of effeminate shit and that the tit shaped helmet looks very elegant. Can kind of see why he was standing in the morning chill on his own doing tourist duty after that remark.

After visiting a few old relics including the Forum and the Palace of the last king of Italy, Victor Emmanuel we took a waltz up to the Vatican and a guide magazine I'd found promised the mind blowing delights of an “alternative” tour of optical illusions. The first consists of standing on a circular tile in St Peter's square and noticing how both rows of pillars on one side of the Vatican courtyard appear to line up to make one row only.


Then it was off to via Piccolomini a two mile hike uphill which stated boldly that if you look at the view of the Vatican dome from the end of the street and then go right to the other end the dome looks closer, even though you are 500 yards further away.

This freaked both of us out completely as it doesn't just look closer it looks RIGHT FUCKING IN YOUR FACE. We tried to figure out why this was and are still at a loss to explain it. Creeping us out even more was when we sat on the bus going back down the street and the dome got visibly normal-sized again the nearer we got to the bend in the street.

Guaranteed to clear any feelings of melancholy is a trip to the city centre of Rome on a sunny day (even one where you have to wear a scarf and gloves).

Roll on Spring.

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