Sunday, December 10, 2006

Remembering The Love Man: Otis Redding, 1941-1967

It was 39 years ago today that Otis Redding's plane crashed during a storm en route to a concert in Madison, Wisconsin. He was just 26 when he died, but Otis gave us an enormous body of work, songs that have become part of the soundtrack of our lives, from "Respect" to "Try a Little Tenderness." from "Shake" to "The Dock of the Bay." He gave us dreams to remember and he will always be remembered, with love and respect.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Funniest Radioactive DVD Ever? Ross Noble gets my vote

Finally got my copy of Ross Noble's "Sonic Waffle" DVD from Amazon UK. Rewarded with belly laughs, giggles, tears of laughter, big grins that last for hours, and generally uplifting after-effects that last for days. Somehow ordinary words like "hilarious" don't do it justice.

And talk about value for money. You get the very tight "Live at the Apollo" show which was screened on cable in the US in 2006. That was my first exposure to this Geordie comic and I was going to try transferring it from my DVR when I thought to check Amazon for a DVD. You also get a full-length unedited show from tsfa. From this show you get a real sense of what it is like to see Noble perform in person. And you realize what you might have suspected from the Apollo show--he makes this stuff up as he goes along. Taking cues from the audience is a fine comic tradition, as is the art of hanging your repertoire of jokes on those cues, but Noble uses audience input to create his show, live and off the top of his head.

Bonus features are the commentaries and the back story short film. The latter is firmly in the Python tradition and leads to the crowning absurdist epiphet: Radio-Active Kung-Fu Refrigerator Boy and Monkey-Slayer Ross Noble. As for the commentaries, I find these rib-ticklingly funny, first the commentary on the ssss show, then the commentary on the commentary--a first to the best of my knowledge ("This is me commenting on the commentary you heard earlier...you might not realize it but that commentary was entirely unscripted" and so on.)

I strongly urge anyone who is a fan of the Pythons and/or Eddy Izzard and/or The Big Lebowski to check out Ross Noble. He is unlike anyone else but those three reference points should be good predictors of your predisposition to find Noble knee-knockingly amusing. Not that everyone will find him equally entertaining. My wife insists she is not interested in seeing his shows a third time and only watched one half of one DVD commentary (she also promises to hit me if I repeat any of the material ever again--that's fair enough because I am content to enjoy a Noble-sque view of things and make up my own absurd banter when the mood strikes me).

But the burning, almost radioactive, question now is this: Why would someone who lives in America order from amazon.co.uk? As of right now, there are no Ross Noble DVDs published in the US. So I ordered one from the UK, having noted that it was not region coded. but so far that's the only way to get this DVD. Why? I don't know. But I do know it plays fine on my Toshiba SD 3980 PAL/NTSC Region Free DVD player.