Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Star Wars triva: N and O

Sorry... haven't blogged for ages... will do soon. For now, this: more in my wise and trustworthy Star Wars alphabet.



Having done sand (Tatooine), snow (Hoth), the sky (Bespin) and forests (Endor), Lucas hit upon a great theme for his new planet… pointlessness. A bunch of idiots in silly clothes, some fountains, a lot of grass and somewhere a bunch of underwater wankers. The Trade Federation sensibly decided to destroy it, but were unfortunately thwarted by… er… you know, I cannot for the life of me remember. Oh, was it that Anakin… pressed a button… or something...? And there was… a big blue thing that fizzed.

Sorry, I’ve lost the will to live.


Ozzel, Admiral.

Ozzel is brilliant for a number of reasons. Number one is that he’s played by Michael Sheard, now sadly deceased, who also played not only Hitler (in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) but also Mr. Bronson, in TV’s Grange Hill. He’s also brilliant because he chokes extravagantly to death behind Piett, recipient of Vader’s irritable mood swings.

Vader was cross because Ozzel brought the Imperial fleet out of hyperspace early, thus making the rebels on Hoth realise that millions of Imperial Star Destroyers were about to blow them to pieces. Ozzel thought surprise was wisest, apparently. But what does that mean? Surely bringing the fleet out of hyper-space is precisely what alerts the rebels to the Imperial presence. So how does that constitute ‘surprise’? Answer: it doesn’t. He deserved to die.

Old Ben Kenobi
(an acrostic)

Oh, since before you were born, I’ve been
Living here, in this little flat, in
Denial of the terrible things I have done

Better not tell you
Exactly how your father met his end
Nor anything about Yoda, midichlorians, Leia or
         the fact that I used to hang out with these two
                     droids right next to me

Knight of the Old republic I may be
Even the last of their kind
Not going to let that stop me lying about absolutely everything
Or hiding the fact that this here
Bird in the hologram, who you clearly want to have sex with
Is your sister

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Goodbye, Kobayashi

The New Year brings with it the unwelcome news that weird faced, top actor Pete Postlethwaite has breathed his last, and I for one am sad.

I first came across Postlethwaite's ghoulish visage in the 1989 television series 'Tales of Sherwood Forest'. As I recall, the premise of the show was that Postlethwaite played a bar owner, Eric, who loved the film Casablanca and wanted to model his bar on Rick's place, renaming it The Blue Parrot. I think. Although in retrospect I wonder whether I'm not wrong about that, as surely he'd have wanted to call it Rick's Cafe Americaine?

Either way, he never got the place renamed, and it remained 'The Sherwood Forest' for the duration of the series, much to Eric's chagrin. I remember thinking that this was a shame, as Eric did look quite a bit like Bogart. I guess that was the idea behind the programme.

I don't recall anything else about the show, and the internet steadfastly refuses to help me. There are, apparently, no video clips or pictures from this show anywhere on the world wide web, and if you do searches for 'Tales of Sherwood Forest' it just gets confused and offers you holidays in Nottingham, or  pictures of Jason Connery. A shame, as I really liked the show, and every time I saw Mr Pete afterwards, I went 'Oh, it's that guy from the Blue Parrot thing'.

Whatever Uncle Pete was in, he made better. He had a natural dignity that elevated every role he inhabited. He turned up in all manner of films, suprising you as his bulbous nose or droopy eyes appeared from nowhere. Here are some of my favourites:

Romeo and Juliet

All-rather-silly adaptation of the Bard's most famous "cock-up" play, suddenly invaded by the skull like countenance of Mr Pete as his weird-as-some-bats Friar Lawrence gave Leo some iambic advice.


What's one more bald, freakish looking individual in this peculiar space sequel? Well, if it's Mr Postlethwaite, I'll be happy to watch. In fact, this film has a great British cast, and is well worth catching if you can grab the director's cut.

Brassed Off

The one he'll probably be remembered for. Who wouldn't want a friend/father/guardian angel like this?

The Town

Here playing a really horrible piece of work, making full use of Pete's ever more unusual features. One of the many tragedies about his death is that we'll now never get to see just how cartoon like his face would become as he travelled into old age.

The Usual Suspects

My favourite, of course. The suave, oddly accented Mr Kobayashi, both humble and subtly threatening. Of course, that probably wasn't his real name...

So goodbye, Uncle Peter. You were brilliant. Intelligent, compassionate and shot through with warmth and wit. We will miss you.