#SaturdaySix April 2018: Springulent sextet

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Spring is finally thinking of springing. It’s time to share my #SaturdaySix for April 2018 – six things that are inspiring or amusing me right now. A springulent sextet, if you will. What is lightening your own world right now?

1: Of minimalism and maximalism, #sketchulence and Airplane!

I love music producer Rick Rubin’s unique take on the minimalist aesthetic:

“I think one of the things that really drew me to hip-hop was how you could get to this very minimal essence of a song  –  to a point where many people wouldn’t call it a song. My first credit was ‘Reduced by Rick Rubin.’ … There’s a tremendous power in using the least amount of information to get a point across.”

Identifying the least amount of information needed to make your point is tough. I gave it a go last week in a spot of #sketchulence.

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Of course, minimalism is not the only way. At the other end of the spectrum is maximalism. Why stop at throwing in the kitchen sink, when you can shove the entire kitchen on top?

One of the most amusing examples of maximalism I’ve ever seen is the German language translation of one of the most succinct film titles: Airplane!

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Die Unglaubliche Reise In Einem Verrückten

Flugzeug? Blimey! It really tickled me to spot this DVD in a local charity shop last weekend. My rather rusty recollection of A-Level German (1991 vintage) suggests that this translates roughly as: “The Unbelievable Journey in a Crazy Aeroplane”. Rolls off the tongue, eh?

2: Serafinowicz’s Full Day

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Pursuing the Airplane! thread, comedian and impressionist extraordinaire Peter Serafinowicz rhapsodises on the ID10T podcast about the ludicrous attention to detail in

Airplane!

and its spiritual cousin Police Squad. He experienced asphyxia-inducing levels of laughter at the extent to which the Police Squad team followed through on the throwaway “all-night wicker place” gag*.

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Mr S describes his feeling of joyous disbelief that someone had gone to so much effort for a single silly joke. I feel similar joyous disbelief at Serafinowicz’s A Full Day In The Life

This is his reimagining of the Paul McCartney’s section of the Beatles’ A Day In The Life. Employing his note-perfect McCartney impression, he extends the “Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head” part from an all-too-brief sketch to become the main part of song, tracking the protagonist’s full day from awakening to when he finally nods off in the wee small hours of the following morning.

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I marvel at the hundreds of hours Serafinowicz must have put in to realise this idea, and at the talent required to have done it so well. Especially as Mr S can never profit from these labours.

A Full Day In The Life exists in something of a legal grey area. It uses and extends the entire original Beatles song. It has apparently been posted online multiple times, then taken down at the request of the Beatles’ representatives. At the time of writing, it’s still online at the end of Serafinowicz’s ID10T podcast episode (it begins at just around the 61-minute mark). It’s well worth the 15 or so minutes of this particular full day in your own life!

3: Alien 2 On Earth

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How many ideas in this world are truly original? In complete contrast to the freshness that Serafinowicz brings to a song that you (well, let’s be honest here, I) have heard a million times, the trailer for Alien 2: On Earth is one of the most risibly unoriginal things I’ve ever heard of. But that doesn’t stop it being hilarious. 

Alien 2: On Earth does not exist in a legal grey area. Spying the success of 1979’s immortal classic Alien (the film that I would most like to be able to time travel back to see on its original release and have no idea what was going to happen), an Italian film studio rushed out the perhaps-rather-cheekily-titled Alien 2: On Earth

This film has zero connection to Ridley Scott’s Alien, save for the shamelessly half-inched title. Cease and desist letters flew out, squashing its cinematic release. But the trailer is there for us to enjoy on YouTube (although I must caution those of a squeamish disposition that a lot of red paint and/or tomato ketchup is spilt in this too-cheap-to-be-properly gory schlockfest of a trailer).

4: In which I am proven unworthy of Donaeld The Unready

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Gentle reader: I must confess that I am a sad loser, a hater, and a serf. I am therefore honoured and privileged above my station to have received a tweet from Donaeld The Unready. If you are the kind of sad loser and/or hater who doesn’t yet know Donaeld, his Twitter biography introduces him perfectly: 

“The best medieval King out there. I’m the bretwalda. The bestwalda. I’ve got great swords, everyone says so. Make Mercia Great Again. Great thoughts, all my own.”

I attempted to communicate with the great (so great) Donaeld The Unready the other week. He put me firmly in my place:

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“I knew teaching serfs to spell was a bad idea.”

If only there were a modern Twitter celebrity to continue Donaeld’s great (so great) work.

5: Brollyful!

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It’s no secret that England can be rather a rainy place. The past few weeks have been particularly rainulent, even by the usual distinctly damp standards of this fair isle. But what is rain if not an excuse to rock a rather bright brolly? My friend Paul Taylor-Pitt is one of the loveliest people I’ve had the good fortune to meet via the world of Twitter. Paul’s tweets can brighten any day. This tweeted pic from last week is a great example. My thanks go out to Paul for his kind permission to include his photo here. 

6: Close encounters of the Bill Murray kind

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Ponder the wonder of the fact that we share this Earth with Bill Murray. Anybody who has starred in such wonderful films as Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters has done enough to assure their living legend status. But Bill Murray goes above and beyond. Legion are the tales of his unpredictable, bizarre but beautiful interactions with us mere mortals (USA Today kindly present a selection of such legendary Bill Murray tales here).

Close encounters of the Bill Murray kind are still happening right now, in April 2018. Earlier this week, my North Carolina-based friend Julie Joyce sent me a delightful news story from a local news outlet, about Mr Murray materialising in a café in Fayetteville, NC to enjoy a quiet burger.

This extract from the article is just wonderful:

“Restaurant co-owner Kevin Penland walked up to him and said, ‘You know who you look like …’

Murray interjected. ‘Strike one,’ he said.

Penland walked over to Reites and told her to keep cool, but he thought it was Murray in the restaurant.

He overheard and yelled, ‘Strike two.’

Reites walked to the table to take his order and instantly made the connection.

‘Oh my God, ’Ghostbusters”,’ she said she remembered thinking.

"The restaurant is debating naming the burger for him,” The Fayetteville Observer reports. Do it!

FOOTNOTES

* You can view the “all-night wicker place” gag at the 14.50 mark in this episode of Police Squad. Or, better yet, bask in the glory of the whole thing. Well, why not? 

** I think Woody Harrelson feels the same way about the fact that we exist on the same planet as Bill Murray. I’ve always wondered if he was feeling so overwhelmed by his proximity to the great one that he strayed somewhat from the script in this scene from Zombieland.***

*** Footnote to a footnote time: If you’ve seen Zombieland, you will know that it counts as a major spoiler to learn that Bill Murray is even in this film. But Zombieland has been out for nine years now…. and even if you know what the “BM” stands for on the way in, it’s still an immensely fun flick!

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