Friday, 16 July 2010

Ranking the Bond themes without the aid of a novelty headline

There's no point simply ranking the Bonds themselves, because every time I try and advance my theories about the genius of Roger Moore people start throwing bricks at my house and keying my car. So, power ballad fans, toss your REO Speedwagon records aside (gently, they'll be worth something one day)

Die Another Day - Madonna
Where they threw away the power ballad concept and went with synthpop done by somebody nobody had cared about for a decade. Then they went and gave her a role in the film as well. A well aimed knife to the back of the entire Bond genre.

19. From Russia With Love - Matt Munro
Exactly what you'd expect from 1963. Actually more like what you'd expect from 1953.

18. The Man With The Golden Gun - Lulu
One of the most underrated films (come on, it's got the murderous midget from Paradise Island in it, what do you want?) but the theme song is weedy. Movie also contains the slide-whistle sound effect that makes Bond purists want to stab people. I'm for it.

17. Tomorrow Never Dies - Sheryl Crow
She dealt with Lance Armstrong being short one plum, but not with being called up for the biggest job in soundtracks. We were therefore robbed of not only a Pulp theme, but an absolute belter as well. And Teri Hatcher was in it so you can cram the whole project with walnuts.

16. The World Is Not Enough - Garbage
Not withstanding the fact that I would cut off two limbs to go back in time and crack onto mid 90's Shirley Manson, this is bollocks. The only thing that can be said for it is that it's better than the film which is undoubtedly the worst Bond movie ever made.

15. Another Way To Die (Quantum of Solace) - Jack White and Alicia Keys
Film utter shite after a promising start to the Daniel Craig era, and theme song not much chop either. Not the worst but only because of some of the utter gash that proceeded it in the Pierce Brosnan (*spit*) films.

14. Goldeneye - Tina Turner
The only half decent thing about the movie that almost killed the Bond franchise.

13. Diamonds Are Forever - Shirley Bassey
Not nearly enough oomph from the Dame. Soundtracked a shock Connery return, and a return to form for the films, but even when she starts belting it out the whole thing sounds phoned in.

12. Licence To Kill - Gladys Knight
The last great Bond power ballad from the last half decent Bond film for more than 15 years. Effect somewhat ruined by having a different song over the end credits.

11. All Time High (Octopussy) - Rita Coolidge
The first theme to not feature the name of the film, and gee I wonder why, is alright but moves at a glacial pace. Maybe they didn't want to set the bar too high for Roger Moore to follow given that he was about 200 years old by the time the movie was made.

10. Live And Let Die - Wings
Oft cited as the best but I'm well over it. Still better than most, but effect somewhat ruined by every shithouse band in the world covering it. Axl Rose I'm looking directly at you.

9. A View To A Kill - Duran Duran
Marred by a shambolic early 80's video with visual effects straight out of student theatre, but quality new romantic action nonetheless.

8. You Only Live Twice - Nancy Sinatra
A rare occasion where slow pace pays off. The orchestral bit at the start is a cracker and they nail the Asian feel without ever having to have daughter of Frank resort to Me No Rikey style accents and Aneka style chopsticks in the hair.

7. You Know My Name (Casino Royale) - Chris Cornell
Old Mate from Soundgarden being called upon to soundtrack a 21st century Bond had all the hallmarks of disaster but god damn it the boy pulled it off in spectacular fashion. If you have to drop the power ballad motif then this is the way to do it, with a meaty rock number that nearly washed the taste of recent crimes out of our mouths.

6. Moonraker - Shirley Bassey
The disco version from the end credits would push number one but I'll take this. Bassey returns and gives it what for in spectacular fashion. In space.

5. Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
Who will ever forget Alan Partridge walking to the service station along the freeway singing his own version? Everyone but me presumably.

4. Thunderball - Tom Jones
Arguably done better by Ron Barassi on The Late Show, this is basically just Tom doing Welsh spoken word with a bit of bang thrown in but it's good stuff.

3. For Your Eyes Only - Sheena Easton
The ultimate Bond power ballad. How good is the bit where she goes "but you won't need to read between the liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiines"?

2. The Living Daylights - a-ha
NORWEGIAN SYNTHPOP MAGIC. Take me to Bond karaoke and let's sing this mother right now.

1. Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me) - Carly Simon
Don't be fooled by the LJ Hooker ads, this is the real deal. From the piano bit at the start to the shots women swinging on giant lugers and spinning around with guns in the opening it's got it all. And the "Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaby you're the best bit?" Chilling. Never seen the film? Let Alan Partridge take you through the opening.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

5 reasons why this World Cup is the worst in years

I have no idea if this post was finished or not, but I only found it in my TSP 'drafts' in October 2013, so now I'd may as well post it.

I've watched every World Cup since 1990 semi-religiously. Italy, USA, France, Japan/South Korea, Germany and now South Africa. And what have we learnt in the first week and a bit? That this has been a rubbish tournament so far. Good thing that my original plan to take the month off and watch every single match fell apart.

1. The crowds
It seems rude to me that there are half empty - or worse - stadiums for World Cup finals matches. I'm not surprised that the people of Africa haven't flocked South to check out the action, and I'm equally not surprised that the people of the world haven't chosen to visit a country where carjacking is a national sport but bloody hell FIFA just give the tickets away and let's get some atmosphere.

Then there's the vuvuzela, one of the greatest crimes ever to be perpetrated on sports. The organising committee claim that it's got something to do with African history and heritage. Yep, there's nothing more African than a piece of plastic made in China. Offered the chance to cut the sound from the stadium out and give us clean 1970's style commentary feeds television stations have chickened out. Why? You can't hear anything else from the ground anyway so why not just turn the effects mics off and flip them on if there's a goal scored? They know we're going to watch no matter what happens so why bother trying to make it a pleasant experience to watch right?

2. The ball
Here's a concept, get the 32 (allegedly) best teams in the world together in one place.. and make them play with a novelty ball. It's like The Wizard with Fred Savage where they got the best video game players in the world together and made them play Super Mario Brothers 3 for the first time. At least that movie was a glorified advertisement for Nintendo and not the greatest sporting contest known to man.

And what has the ball done so far? How many spanking free kicks have you seen go in so far? Not many. Stupid idea created solely to make money for already rich arseholes.

3. The refs
Ponce about, send Australian players off, just be generally shit.

4. The TV coverage
First let me say that Les Murray is nearly my favourite Australian TV personality ever (though Ian Turpie just shades him) but right now he looks like he's lost the will to live. Anything to do with being stuck in a studio alongside Craig Foster for a month? is a whinging crunt who makes me want to stab myself in the eardrum whenever he talks.

5. Australia is in it
And haven't we come far enough as a football playing nation that we can drop the name "Socceroos"? It was an embarassing nickname in the 90's and now it's just criminal. Strange how the FFA did a deep cleanse of everything else related to 'old football' when they killed the NSL and the old clubs but somehow managed to miss dropping this humiliatingly cartoonish name from the end of our team name. Do you need a nickname for a national team? Either people are going to watch you or they're not - and as you can tell from what's going on at the moment as long as you make the World Cup then everybody will watch whether they like the sport or not.