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Time off

Personal | Published in TES Newspaper on 3 October, 2008 | By: Madeleine Brettingham

Music

Dig Out Your Soul, Oasis

“I’ve literally got nothing left to write about. I’ve wrote about being a youth and I’ve wrote about being a rock star and I’ve wrote about living life in the big city,” says Northern poet Noel Gallagher of his latest album, Dig Out Your Soul. “I’ve been revisiting some of my more psychedelic trips of a younger man, because I remember them all, y’see …”

The hallucinogenic visions of Messrs Gallagher and Gallagher. What would that involve? Talking Cornish pasties? Spectral anoraks? Posh totty lounging around on flying sofas waiting to be rescued by a duo of Mancunian love gods?

Probably all of the above. But if debut single “The Shock of the Lightning” is anything to go by, they’ve also found expression in a respectable slab of noisy psychedelia that succeeds in recapturing some of the chaotic charm of early singles.

The track sounds eerily like Stereolab, which is a good thing. Because if anything’s blighted their earlier efforts, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants” and “Heathen Chemistry”, it’s their determination to sound like a conservative, plodding version of The Beatles - with more bass and less melody.

Dig Out Your Soul could be a tentative return to form for the hairy twosome. It’s out on October 6.

Film

Brideshead Revisited

Britain’s supply of sexy aristocratic actors has been petering out since Rupert Everett shaved off his floppy locks and Jeremy Irons had the cheek to grow a beard. So it’s about time a fresh adaptation of Brideshead Revisited came along to replenish the supply. This time around we have Ben Whishaw - formerly the UK’s youngest Hamlet - as Sebastian, and Matthew Goode (Match Point) reprising Irons’s role in the ITV series as Charles Ryder. Both have put in admirable performances, although reactions to the film have been mixed.

Evelyn Waugh’s novel is an odd one to adapt for a modern audience. Trailing a middle-class Oxford student as he pursues his crush on a gay aristocrat via his beautiful but troubled family, it combines a swooning mixture of Catholicism, sexual repression, and Varsity nostalgia - not exactly pressing issues of the present day.

Nonetheless, it’s an unputdownable novel, and the ITV adaptation that launched Jeremy Irons’s career in the Eighties was acclaimed as a masterpiece.

Julian Jarrold’s version has had a more ambivalent response. Variety praises the poignant acting, while The New York Times complains that Goode as Ryder “shows all the charisma of a stalk of boiled asparagus”.

Film

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

Published in 2002, Toby Young’s bible of failure was balm to the soul of anyone who’s ever been rubbish at a job but, whether for reasons of cash or pride, found it impossible to quit.

An account of Young’s dizzying fall from grace after he was hired as a writer for Graydon Carter’s Vanity Fair, it was unstinting in its depiction of social awkwardness, romantic failure and career suicide, as Young tried and failed to metamorphose into a sparkling gossip columnist, despite being short, bald and utterly graceless.

Oddly, writing it was perhaps the single most successful move of Young’s career. And now, with his book getting a big-screen makeover with Simon Pegg in the lead role, the circle of irony is complete.

But ultimately Young’s tale, like a modern day Buster Keaton movie, is a reminder that there can be dignity in defeat. After all, who really wants to belong to the mineral water-sipping tribes of fashionable New York when you can write a memoir decimating them?

Book

Why do I say these things? Jonathan Ross

Watching Jonathan Ross interview Hollywood starlets is a bit like overhearing your dad clumsily flirting with your best friend after one too many at the football. That said, it’s impossible to deny he’s the most entertaining interviewer on telly, even if his sexism and self-love can grate.

Ross’s new book, part-memoir part-musings, depicts the befringed one rising like a chubby meteor from the suburbs of Leytonstone, via Southampton College of Art, to production company Channel X where he devised his breakthrough show The Last Resort.

The publicity promises an “outrageous page turner … with stories that range from discovering B-movies to fashion, from diets to childhood sweetshops, from sex to pets (and back to sex).” Much the same as his talk show, then.

Or you could …

Buy Keane album Perfect Symmetry … see disabled punk band documentary Heavy Load … watch fashion paean British Style Genius on BBC2 on Tuesday.


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