The Film Authority….gets a little Weird…


A Brucie bonus for your Valentine’s Day reading; it’s been a bumpy day, month, year, decade and millennia for most of us so far, but one of the highlights for the year so far has been unexpected proximity to musical legend Weird Al Yankovic. I’ve always been a fan of the parody songs he’s created, and his own original material, and was delighted to see that his unique sense of humour translated so well to his recent big screen outing. And as if that wasn’t all knee-trembling enough, I was literally beside myself in paroxysms of joy to get the seal of approval from the great man when Weird Al dropped by and personally liked the tweeted review.

Things jumped up a notch or two even further when I was invited to see Weird Al play live at Glasgow’s O2 venue at the weekend. I covered this momentous event for The List, a magazine that I’ve been reading since I was at school, and still a great read in the digital era. That review is for the first gig of his four date British tour, and can be explored in all its glory via this link.

Writing for the same august publication, I’ve also been delving into the world of literature via a new book from Faber and Faber; Kirsty Sedgman’s On Being Unreasonable; Breaking the Rules and Making Things Better, which is a thought-provoking read. Why I would be the right person to review a book about being unreasonable is anyone’s guess; again, you can read my thoughts via this link.

And while I’m firing out precious links like silly string, I’m also bringing to your attention some further writings about Die Hard, this time my review of Richard Marsh’s one man show at the 2022 Edinburgh fringe. My regular readers will both know that I just can’t get enough of Die Hard, from reading the original Nothing Last Forever book to visiting the actual Nakatomi Plaza on the Fox lot in Century City (and tracing John McLane’s limo ride route from LAX). Marsh’s show was a fun one, it’s returning to UK audiences from March to April, and you can read a bit more about it here

So let me leave you with some musical glory, in the form of a clip from the Weird Al movie; in this scene, the glitterati are wowed by Weird Al’s original composition Another One Rides The Bus, performed here by Daniel Radcliffe. Let me draw your attention to the striking background performance of Rainn Wilson aka Dwight Shrute from the Office. Playing Al’s mentor Dr Demento, it’s a performance that really should have seen awards traction; savour the look on his face switching from initial disbelief at the quality of Al’s playing and music to defiant, cocksure arrogance as he gets behind his man and physically taunts the crowd with the sheer pizazz of Al’s stage-craft. It’s a true Oscar-sizzle-reel clip that would undoubtedly have been a winner if Andrea Riseborough and pals hadn’t bent the rules so cunningly in her own favour…




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  1. Great work, sir. That Weird Al concert sounds like it was a lot of fun. I still haven’t seen the film. I was never really interested in his music. I probably just dismissed him as “that song parody guy.” Looks like I should give the film a watch.

    Also, very pleased to hear you are receiving a paycheck for your articles in The List. I’ve been reading about the collapse of comic book journalism over the last month. I assume this WordPress blog is done as a hobby. Have you ever considered Substack or do you have one already? And if you don’t mind my asking, is freelance writing your main job? I’ll be back with another twenty questions the same time tomorrow!

    • Good, sensible questions; was doing a careers talk last week at Glasgow Uni, so still have the answers fresh. Have been writing for The List since 2003, so 20 years+, and they always have great editors and always pay. They are one of what my accountant laughingly calls my ‘income sources’, BBC radio and tv, blogs, scriptwriting, education, distribution, various other projects. Rolled together, they form a healthy enough income for me, but that’s very much against the tide right now. The List still have a paper edition, and do well out of the Edinburgh festival and fringe, giving them a solid foundation that most publications don’t have. Too much journalism is not paid, but passed off as ‘experience’; on the rare occassions that anyone else writes for me, I offer to pay, even if its not much, because something is better than nothing. Is comic book journalism on its uppers? Social media seems to be killing the meaningful written word… Questions welcome…

      • Thanks so much for your candid reply. Good to hear you are doing well. The List still having a paper edition makes me both very happy and nostalgic for me old hometown Manchester. I grew up reading Starburst and later Empire; I wonder if they are still producuing physical editions?

        Digital comic book journalism seems to be dwindling. Some of the “bigger names” in that field have been talking about starting Go Fund Me(s) or subscriptions in order to keep going. But on the other hand, a lot of it is pretty untrustworthy these days with over-inflated or way too generous ratings for average comics. If everything is a 9 or 10 out of 10, then nothing is. Part of this could be about not wanting to lose access to free “Review Copies” though. Unfortunate. Sorry, I’m waffling. I’ll stop now.

        • Starburst. That was a great magazine. Still get a shiver when I hear it. John Brosnan, Tony Crawley, they seemed to be having fun. Covering a busy time for sci-if and fantasy. Read every article a dozen times. No kid will ever do that again.

          • Do you think the “younger generation” sees comments like this and says “calm down granddad!”…? I sometimes feel like I sound like me dad bemoaning modern music.

            • I don’t see why any kid should be bored enough to reread articles over and over again like that. Ye Olde Superinformation highway put paid to that, and probably for the best. Aggregators steal the thunder that used to go with the press. Less choice= more attention back in the days when you might read the cassette labels of your favorite band. Things weren’t better, but they were certainly different.

    • Sigh. Should have known you’d try and diminish my achievements. A liked tweet! Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.

      Erm, I guess if you Google film authority and Twitter it’ll come up for you as it did for me. Ask the librarian to show you the Google machine.

  2. Really enjoyed hearing about your recent Weird Al exploits. I am old enough to remember Dr. Demento and Weird Al’s peak periods. Good stuff. The book does sound interesting – hadn’t heard of it before now. I “allow” people calling Die Hard a Christmas movie because if it helps get more people to see the film for the first time I’m here for it. Love Die Hard, and as a big Bruce Willis fan I love seeing the film enduring with this much of a following.

    • Die Hard was a big wow at the time, but not all sensations last; never watched it and felt anything other than stone cold classic. Glad so many people feel the same. The big book of unreasonableness is worth a shot, freshens up your thinking reading something like that. And yes, quite an honour to brish shoulders, even if its just online, with Weird Al. His show was a pleasure; sure, we all love the big parodies, but his songwriting ability and performance levels are just phenomenal. I’ve been digging for the deep cuts, there’s so much more to him than Eat It…

  3. I read all the links too. Are you employed by The List now? Is it like a proper job where you get paid or you just do it for the heck of it? Anyway good write up of the Weird Al movie though I still don’t fancy seeing it, but the book sounds interesting. Did the Die hard guy have a Christmas tree on stage?

    • He did not; I went to see Bagpuss live, and that was similar in that you had to use your imagination. Besides, Die Hard isn’t really a Xmas movie…

      Have been working freelance for The List for over 20 years, so there’s tonnes of my reviews there if this blog isn’t enough for you! And yes, they pay, which is increasingly rare and should be championed and cultivated in today’s ‘rip-off for writers’ times.

  4. Well done on all fronts.

    Read your links–“On Being Unreasonable” in particular looks like a good read. Always good to challenge one’s own assumptions of how things ought to be done. Not out until August here, but I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist.

    Die Hard will never die. Nor should it.

    Congrats on the well-deserved recognition from Werid Al! Who says social media is all bad?!

    • Social media is, in this case, good.

      On Being Unreasonable is a really good read, would be keen to hear what you think of it. About whether unreasonable behaviour is votal to making us forward, and as a deeply unreasonble person myself, I’m keen to play my part in the process.

      Die Hard is just the best. fact!

        • I find your opinion utterly unacceptable and quite beyond the pale!

          Is that unreasonable enough for you?

  5. How did I not know Die Hard was a book?!?! Or is it just a short story?

    And congrats on getting Al’s approval. I shall respect you one modicum more now.

    • Great book by Roderick Thorpe. Lots of things got changed in the film, but the essence of Die Hard is there. Cracking read!

      One modicum more? Does that leave a grand total of one modicum?

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