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Category Archive: Pop culture

Mar 01 2014

Weird and wonderful: why Matt Smith’s Doctor was better than David Tennant’s

Doctors

At Christmas, in a sudden, violent lurch, Peter Capaldi’s face became the Doctor’s. His announcement in the role pleased critics and excited fans as David Tennant’s had in 2005, fresh off the smash-hit set of Casanova – both actors, loved by the public as it was, were hotly tipped for the part. Capaldi, pictured last …

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Feb 22 2014

Chutney, pineapples and flying spaghetti: why atheism can never be inoffensive enough

This month, posters were snatched from an atheist group at South Bank University. ‘Looking for logic?’ they read, Flying Spaghetti Monster in God’s place on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. ‘Pastafarianism is a real religion.’ Not quite The Satanic Verses, but student union officials took them down in the society’s absence, afraid they’d trigger ‘religious offence’. (The …

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Jan 20 2014

A study in reset buttons: the trouble with ‘His Last Vow’ and Sherlock series three

Sherlock had a good first series and great second one. The recently aired third helping fell somewhere in between, but its final part, the glossily directed ‘His Last Vow’, was deeply flawed. (Spoilers to follow.) There was much to like, even to laud, about it. The story’s opening showed more promise than either of its predecessors’, …

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Dec 07 2013

In defence of the War on Christmas

As 2011’s royal wedding happened, the Guardian hit on a stroke of genius. Perched in easily missed white type atop its sprawling coverage, a tiny button read “Republicans click here”, which when activated hid all related stories. The button, which proved popular enough to reappear this year when the couple’s child was born, made the …

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Nov 30 2013

Catching Fire straightwashes its stars

Catching Fire, the Hunger Games follow-up, ranks among this year’s best films, achieving the rare status of a sequel better than its predecessor. Praise for Jennifer Lawrence, fresh from Oscar success and giving one of her best performances, justifiably saturates reviews, but the real revelation is director Francis Lawrence (no relation), who draws magnetic work from the …

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Nov 24 2013

First (and unenthusiastic) thoughts on ‘The Day of the Doctor’

I was asked a short while back if I’d penned an ‘I hate Steven Moffat’ post of the now-familiar kind. Having seen ‘The Day of the Doctor’, this is it. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I hated it. [Major spoilers follow.] I didn’t hate everything about it. A few aspects of it had me grinning brightly. …

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Nov 09 2013

Project Runway: a question of triage (or, How the hell do you win anyway?)

CHRISTOPHERobverse

Not for the first time in the last three weeks, I struggled last night to know who should be axed from Project Runway. On contestants’ outfits, I had quite clear views (stay tuned for those); what floored me, as it did last week, was which pros and cons should take priority. A typical Runway prizes certain qualities …

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Nov 04 2013

Project Runway: how (not) to avant garde

CHRISTOPHERobverse

As if to quell the steaming rage of fans over last week’s attempt at punk, Daniel Esquivel got sent home on Thursday’s Project Runway. The challenge, an insect-and-arachnid-style avant garde task, prompted better designs than the prior episode’s. Daniel’s even looked quite good from the back. Flowy chocolate brown ball gown billowing as its wearer walks? …

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Oct 26 2013

When Project Runway tried to do punk

Shoes

Shortly after Dom Streater’s unexpected but not undeserving Project Runway win, the programme’s latest ‘All Stars’ series is upon us. Greta remains in hibernation; Tom and Lorenzo, citing fatigue, have opted out of coverage. It falls to me then, I suppose, to talk about it for the moment. ‘Your first challenge starts right now’, contestants from …

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Oct 03 2013

Now I’m taller, harder, stronger, older: celebrating National Poetry Day

★ The most unusual thing I ever stole, as far as I can think, was a book of poems. There was no previous owner as such – at the age of fourteen, I’d received a copy like every student in my year, and while officialdom demanded these books’ return after two years, I resolved early …

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