Saturday, January 13, 2007

Random Roundup

The grass is always greener the other side of the fence is an old adage that it seems millions have taken to heart. Many UK citizens are heading to pastures new in the former colonies of America, Canada and Australia, while the UK is bracing itself for a wave of Romanians and Bulgarians trying to enter as these countries become the latest inductees of the European Union. This on top of the influx of immigrants - especially from the middle and far east - which is increasing the population by 500 bodies a week on an already crowded island (the UK population density is four times greater than the rest of Europe and 12 times greater than the USA). This has given rise to hysterical headlines and intense debate on the benefits and detriments of this perceived inpouring of legal entrances, without introducing the vexed subject of illegal immigrants. In a further twist, Romania is seeing an increase of migrants from China.

The prospect of a UK singles chart full of Beatles songs has been floated as the rules on compiling the chart change. Previously, only new releases (or re-releases) were counted. Now, any single bought from a shop or downloaded - no matter when it was released - will be included. Of course, for the Beatles scenario to work it would mean Apple Corp burying the hatchet with Apple and allowing the songs to be downloaded on iTunes. Don't hold your breath...

Is it me? The National Operatic and Dramatic Association (Noda) reckon panto needs new gags and new stories. Noda chief executive Mark Pemberton said the vast majority of amateur theatre groups want to perform traditional titles, such as Cinderella and Mother Goose.
"There is nothing wrong with this, of course," he said. "The titles are tried and tested, and some audiences are attracted to the traditional.
"But there are some groups and pantomime publishers who hunger for something different.
"It is also the content of pantomimes that needs reviewing for the 21st century. Are some of the traditional titles and gags over-used and exhausted? Most date back to the 19th century and the days of Victorian music hall and Dan Leno.
"And some of the titles, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Robinson Crusoe, are becoming more difficult to stage in this age of political correctness.
"So perhaps it is time for pantomime writers to think of new titles – why not Big Brother the Panto? – and new gags."
Mr Pemberton said that Noda, which publishes pantos for the amateur theatre market, would be delighted to offer something modern and different to its membership.
He added: "It is frustrating to be sent scripts by aspiring writers that show little originality, shoe-horn in the same gags and read like production-line fodder. We need new titles and new jokes for a new century." With panto people know what they're getting, a major reason they go in the first place. And while the formula goes way back, the story evolves each year to incorporate highlights of the year, so I'm pretty sure that big brother will have been incorportated in a panto at some time. Progress is fine, but aren't some traditions worth keeping?

Is it me 2? Rail fares have gone up to reduce passenger numbers. Brilliant. Why don't we raise the price of cars so less people drive? Put up air fares so less people fly? (Oh, they have). It's not as if poor people have to travel anyway....

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