Tag Archives: Graham Norton

Blue Nun, Black Tower, and Pixie’s Pee

15 Feb

Over the weekend I was reading Graham Norton’s memoir “The Life and Loves of a He Devil”.

It was startling to realise that Graham and I had similar upbringings, even though we’re different sexes and were raised on opposite sides of the world.

The thing that made me laugh the most was his comment that in Ireland during his childhood there appeared to be only three wines available: Blue Nun, Black Tower and Mateus Rose.

Those wines are pretty much central to celebrations during my childhood too.  My dad had a burning dislike of Mateus Rose.  He always referred to it as Pixie’s Pee.  The one occasion I took a surreptitious sip from my mother’s glass, I immediately agreed with him and came to the conclusion that the pixie in question needed to see a urologist urgently.  I’ve never attempted to drink it again.  Just the sight of a bottle gives me tremulous shudders of disgust.

Blue Nun was another I felt had a picture of the factory on the bottle!  It was the most appalling wine I had ever tasted when I was young.  I was strongly convinced that they’d put vinegar in a wine bottle by accident.  Blue Nun is probably the reason that I am not overly fond of dry white wines these days.

Black Tower was a different proposition.  I loved the vaguely medieval styled label on the bottle and the wine was sweet enough to appeal to my palate without being cloying.  A romantic through and through I would sip away daydreaming that I was actually drinking the popular medieval sweet wine rhenish.  No idea if Black Tower is a literal descendant, but it was certainly a romantic one in my book.  It’s also the reason that I have no time for wine snobs.  Just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean it tastes good, in my book.  Black Tower is the only white wine I view fondly.  Mention Black Tower to a wine connoisseur and watch them have a hissy fit of epic proportions.

In New Zealand there was a fourth wine making a quartet of cheap and cheerful wines.  This was a sparkling red known as Cold Duck.  My father, the evil bugger that he was, solemnly informed me that Cold Duck was made from the distilled, fermented blood of frozen ducks!  It was a wine that most bottle shops turned a blind eye to underage individuals purchasing.  They knew that there was no way kids could get drunk on it.  It wasn’t in the system long enough for the alcohol to take effect.  Two glasses and you’d be heaving up the whole horrible fizzy mess.

Graham’s book made me feel more than a little nostalgic.  I wonder if the local bottle shop has Black Tower?

It’s A Small World

15 May

I was looking at my blog statistics this morning and my attention was drawn to the fact that someone from Tunisia has been reading my blog today.  Hello to my Tunisian reader.  I hope you enjoyed what you read and will return again. 🙂

I was inspired to go and look at the statistical breakdown of where my readers come from.  I was blown away by what I read.

Seeing as WordPress is an American site, it is no surprise that my largest readership of 2,223 views is from the United States.  My next four: United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand also make sense, as they are also countries where English is the principle language.  Yes, I realise Canada is officially bilingual.  Don’t be picky.

It was after this that I got truly mind blown.  It is humbling to think that people in countries like Kazakhstan, Nepal, Honduras, Moldova, and Iceland are reading my blog and enjoying it.  Mind you, maybe not enjoying it so much, as many of them have only visited once.  However, thank you all for coming, even the once.  It is a pleasure and an honour to get to talk to you from Australia.

I do wonder why people read my blog sometimes.  I know I have a lot of readership from Sherlock fans, and Sherlock fans are damn near a universal constant these days.  Not to mention Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman fans.  Oh, and Graham Norton fans, because not a day goes past when someone doesn’t arrive at my blog whilst searching for the elusive Graham.

But a lot of my blogs are on books I’ve read, typically Aussie things, and thoughts I’ve had.  It really does amaze me that people seem to find the meanderings of my mind both interesting and entertaining.

What I am trying to say is, thank you for reading, and for letting me reach out to you from my small part of the world to yours.

Blog Meanderings

20 Jan

Dear Channel 10, I just thought you’d like to know that the NCIS fans here in Australia are getting restless.

How do I know that?  Because in the last seven days hits on my blog post from 3rd October 2013 ( https://margysmusings.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/ncis-in-australia/ ) have gone totally berserk.

The blog post in question was about why I didn’t think NCIS season 11 was going to be properly fast-tracked, unlike Homeland and assorted other pieces of drivel disguised as drama.

Oh, and I think people want more of the Graham Norton Show too, because he’s the other topic that’s been repeatedly hit on this last week.  All three blog posts I did on the Graham Norton Show have been read avidly.

Basically, viewers appear to actually want new shows… not the assortment of repeats 10 is currently inflicting on the viewing public.  Non-ratings period be damned!  Channels 7 and 9 are actually showing some new shows – so why isn’t 10?  Admittedly Channel 7 currently has the Australian Open Tennis, and Channel 9 is flogging the cricket horse to death – maybe 10 has just given it up as a bad job.

It’s nice to think that people might think I know what’s going on at Channel 10.  Personally I don’t think ANYONE knows what’s going on at Channel 10.

I’m just a woman with a computer and an opinion and I’m not afraid to wield either.

As to my opinion on new NCIS and the Graham Norton Show showing on 10 – I don’t think we’ll be getting much of anything until the end of February/beginning of March.  Why?  Because Channel 10 has the pestilential Winter Olympics from Sochi.  Boredom by any other name.  But until those are over we can kiss goodbye to any chance of decent programming on Channel 10.

Martin Freeman on the Graham Norton Show

15 Dec

In the interests of fairness, I sat up and watched Martin’s appearance on the Graham Norton Show.  Well, I’ve sat up and watched Benedict Cumberbatch twice this year.

Martin is great value on the show.  He has a delightful presence and his dry comments added so much to the show, especially as Ben Stiller appeared not to know what the hell was going on.  However, as Graham Norton frequently has that effect on American guests, we can forgive him.  The other guest was Jamie Oliver, who was also great value.

One thing I cannot believe is that NO-ONE on the couch and NO-ONE in the audience knew the origin of Boxing Day.  For your information, Graham, Martin, Jamie and Ben – it is a particularly British institution arising from the habit of servants having to work Christmas Day making dinner, cleaning house etc.  On St Stephen’s Day, 26th December, the servants were mostly given the day off, and that was also the day they received their Christmas Box from their employer.  Hence, Boxing Day!  It’s a fairly old practice… wasn’t in practice when the British were exporting settlers to America, but well in place when the time came to settle Australia and New Zealand.  Both countries celebrate the Boxing Day public holiday.

Right, into the show.  Martin Freeman’s socks looked like he knocked them off a Christmas elf on Oxford Street.  I want them.  I adore loud socks.  I am a socks addict.

One gorgeous thing was Ben and Martin trying to one up each other over doing stunts.  Very funny to watch.

Ben Stiller’s comments on Martin not smiling in photographs prompted the comment: “He doesn’t even know me and he thinks I’m a miserable shit.” 

One of the funniest moments had to be Graham Norton talking about Martin’s internet fans saying he resembles a small woodland animal then trying to get Jamie Oliver to guess what one.  When Jamie came out with “Catweazle” I nearly had hysterics.  For those who have never see the show “Catweazle”, the title character was a grumpy, dirty, disgusting old wizard who accidentally magicked himself into the 20th Century and got stuck there.    Catweazle was a sort of anti-Gandalf.  The show was very popular during my childhood.

For those who don’t know – Martin has been compared to a hedgehog.  He takes it pretty well, but you can see it’s got old really fast for him.

One thing I do want to comment on is Martin’s reaction when someone says or does something stupid.  He has THE best “what-is-the-weather-like-on-your-planet” expression I have ever seen.

The other hysterically funny moment came when Graham showed a fan video “Jamie Oliver Talks Dirty” with snippets of footage from Jamie’s shows packaged together to make one of the most innuendo laden things I have seen in years.  Poor Jamie was so embarrassed, and Martin was nearly hysterical with laughter.

All in all, it was an excellent show, and I am glad I sacrificed my sleep for it.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Harrison Ford on the Graham Norton Show

13 Oct

We got to see this in Australia last night, fast-tracked from the UK.  A note to Channel 10… it would help if you mentioned all the guests in the advertising.  Getting a little tired of your ignoring Benedict Cumberbatch as if he isn’t interesting.  World’s hottest man and you don’t think he’s a draw card?  Fire your promotional people, they suck!

Firstly, I have got to say that this was one of the best Graham Norton shows I have ever watched.  Graham is such a wonderfully funny man.  His wit is quite acidic and absolutely evil.  I loved his description of his guests as “Fresh meat for my sofa”.  I half expect the sofa to swallow Harrison, Benedict and James Whitehall whole!

Harrison Ford seemed a little confused by both Graham and the show, until he realised that he could say what he liked.  No-one would get upset if he swore.  He seemed to settle in and enjoy himself.  Harrison Ford has quite a dry, droll sense of humour, and his delivery is dryer than the Sahara Desert.  When Graham asked him is his kids got school cred for having Han Solo and Indiana Jones as their father, his reply was a dry “Frankly my kid’s could give a shit.”

Benedict was late, due to filming “The Imitation Game” about Alan Turing.  He told his rather embarrassing story about fan boying over Harrison Ford, where what he intended to say came out all wrong. 

It turned into a mutual admiration society when Harrison Ford admitted he was a fan of Benedict’s, particularly Sherlock Holmes.

Graham showed a clip from “The Fifth Estate”.  Now, I had no intention of seeing the movie.  As much as I love Benedict, I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch a movie about Julian Assange, who, to be honest, I don’t have much interest in.  However, the clip blew me away.  The Australian accent is hard to master, and Julian Assange’s accent is not pure Australian.  Like so many Aussies who have lived overseas for extended periods of time, he’s picked up accent overlays.  Benedict nailed it perfectly.  He also nailed Julian’s speech patterns.   

On a slight tangent from the subject of accents and speech patterns, Benedict also does an awesome Chewbacca impression.

Graham provoked much amusement with Benedict Cumberbatch/Otter memes.  It was a pleasure to discover I’m not the only person who buggers up the word ‘memes’.  Neither Graham or Benedict could work out how it was supposed to be pronounced either.

Another amusing part of the show was comedian James Whitehall trying desperately to get Benedict to tell him how Sherlock survived the fall.

Fantastic show with fantastic guests. 

Note to Graham: we really need Benedict on the show once a month, if that is at all possible.  Thanks.

Forming the Cumbercollective on the Graham Norton Show

19 May

Finally Channel 10 in Australia showed the edition of the Graham Norton Show with Benedict Cumberbatch on it.  I do want to have a little snipe at 10 though….it would have been nice if you’d advertised ALL of the guests, not just Chris Pine and Kim Cattral…if I hadn’t known they were on the same show I would have missed it.  Channel 10 – your promotional people need firing.

Anyways….I am not a regular watcher of the Graham Norton Show, mostly because Channel 10 shows it too late on a Sunday night for this little birdie whose normal working week routine involves getting up before either the sparrows or the sun!

However, it was well worth sitting up for…and spending today impersonating a dormouse under my desk when I get the opportunity.

Chris Pine was very good.  His story about being pursued by a man wearing only one sock was hilarious. 

I do love Graham Norton’s format where he gets all the guests out at once and they basically sit and chat.  It works so well and doesn’t have the horrible stilted feel so many interview based shows have. 

It was however, Benedict Cumberbatch that I was watching for.  I was not disappointed.  He is just so lovely…and yes, I know, I am gushing.  Benedict is a wonderful guest for shows like Graham’s as he is only too happy to tell stories against himself.  The ‘neutron cream’ gag the Star Trek Into Darkness team pulled on him for example.

Poor Ben was so embarrassed when the topic of fan names came up.  He refused to say “Cumberbitches”, preferring to refer to us the Cumbercollective.  Whatever you want to call us, Ben, is fine.  I was going to say ‘we’re easy’, but that is open to massive misinterpretation.

The sight of Ben running up and down into the audience to hug his fans was so sweet.  Though I nearly collapsed laughing when Chris Pine hugged Tor, who is probably Ben’s best known fan.  The outraged squawk of “He just kissed one of my bitches!” was delightful.  Benedict does righteous outrage so well.

Benedict talking about doing “Frankenstein” with Jonny Lee Miller was very interesting.  Oh and Benedict, thank you so much for adding to my education!  Teabagging. Oh. My. God. 

Benedict talking about delivering the dialogue for “Sherlock” was also very interesting.  I hadn’t really thought about the complexity, not so much of the dialogue itself, but the method of delivery.

Graham getting Benedict to do the trailer for the show in a sinister manner was very funny.  Not half as funny, though, as Benedict’s wickedly accurate impersonation of Graham that followed!  I was literally crying with laughter at that.  I hadn’t realized just how good a mimic Benedict is.  I had heard him do Alan Rickman, but seeing him do Graham Norton, complete with bouncy body language, was absolutely hysterical.

I think I’m in love.

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