Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Ukulele Christmas

Apologies to everyone in advance - have a great Christmas and Fab 2013

Have yourself a ukulele Christmas
Get your stockings out
See the reindeer fly when Santa is about
If the queues are getting on your nelly
And you’re feeling stuck
Get your strings right out and give a gentle pluck

Sprouts have boiled since back in last November
And the meat is tough
Turkey’s not the only one that’s getting stuffed 
Here were are in a shopping daze
And your brain is phased again
What to buy for your mum and dad
Has the world gone mad once more?
When the Christmas songs have drove you mental
Queen’s speech still drones on
Get your ukulele tuned and pop it out
And have yourself a Ukulele Christmas now.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Armageddon It: The End Of The World Top 5

Well folks, here we still are - not sitting on the charred remains of planet Earth and, as yet, unconquered by the Martians.  No black hole has suddenly opened up and swallowed us and David Hasslehoff has yet to come knocking on my door and trying to sell me any of his CDs (now that really would be the end of the world)

Of course today is not over yet and Godzilla could yet leap out of the oceans and devour us all, but it's probably worth mentioning that nowhere in surviving Mayan writings is there any mention of an apocalypse on 21st December 2012 and there is some belief that their infamous wheel calendar could be many years out

Nor is this the first time that the exact date of the end of the world will have been and gone (assuming it does) without major destruction caused by a passing banjo player - and so to celebrate the impending end of everything (hope you kept the receipts for those Christmas presents guys) I'm bringing you my Top 5 Things About The End Of The World

As usual the list doesn't add up to 5 - and I'm sorry to Def Leppard who's song may have made it to the title of this piece, but doesn't make it to the list.

#1: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy (H2G2), by Douglas Adams

As most of you will know by now I am a big fan of the late, great Adams - who struggled with writers block for most of his adult life and only completed seven novels

The famous story that Adams told about the creation of H2G2 was that he woke up drunk in a field in Innsbruck with the idea and then promptly forgot about it again until he was working at the BBC some years later.

The story follows the adventures of everyman Arthur Dent who wakes one particularly bad Thursday to find his house about to be demolished, his best friend to unexpectedly turn out to be an alien, his home planet about to be destroyed to make way for a bypass and, most ominously, to suddenly have to critique some particularly bad poetry

Starting as a radio play, then a series of five books, a TV series and finally a so-so movie and a so-so sixth book by Eoin Colfer the jokes in the Guide might have dated a bit now but Adams's use of language remains his strength in a series of books which were famously delivered long after the sound of the deadline whizzing past had faded into the distance.

#2: The War Of The Worlds, by H.G. Wells

And for this version I'm also counting the famous Orson Wells radio play that caused Americans to run into the streets in panic and the actually quite good Tom Cruise vehicle.

Herbert George Wells is often regarded as the father of Science Fiction, but he was certainly not the only writer who chose other planets and aliens as his central theme.  What he did with his ending (which i won't state here) looks a bit tired and obvious and slightly trite today - but in its time was an amazing piece of thinking.  His original novel remains worth a read even today

#3: Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War Of The Worlds

Possibly the ultimate concept album, keeping very close to both the original novel and, strangely, the Tom Cruise movie (which despite the move to America contains most of the major plot points of the original) the sheer scale of this project is breathtaking.

True Wayne takes a few liberties with the stand-out track Forever Autumn, which really has only a tangential connection to the plot of the book, but the performances by Richard Burton (narrator), Phil Lynox (Preacher) and David Essex (Artilleryman) are all very enjoyable.

Since its original release Wayne has toured with various people taking on the roles and has, more recently, released a new version with Liam Neeson and Gary Barlow - which may well be worth a listen.

#4: The Final Countdown, Europe

Last night when we were both lying awake I explained this post to Herself and she immediately named this song - which was a moment of sheer genius.  Check it out on youtube, it still rocks - and if you're not shouting along with the chorus then you're either a) at work or b) ill

#5: Waiting For The Big One, Peter Gabriel

I have to apologize for this one, as only die hard Gabriel fans will know this rather obscure song from his first solo album, which takes place in a bar as the world comes to an end outside.  It's a very bluesy start with an increasingly orchestrated end and remains one of my favourite of his songs

#6: Plan 9 From Outerspace

There have been lots of films about the end of the world, and lots of films that have made you wish for it - so I've picked what has famously become known as the worst film of all time (unless you include Santa Claus Versus The Martians)

Directed by the infamous Edward D Wood Jr (see Tim Burton's entertaining biopic Ed Wood) who conned a church out of lots of money to make the movie, by telling them he would use the proceeds from the movie to film the bible, it tells the story of aliens who, having presumably exhausted plans 1-8, try Plan 9 (the raising of the dead) to scare humans into behaving better.

There are many things to enjoy about a film that is so bad that it somehow comes out as being good: like the terrible continuity and changes of lighting, labored script, cheap effects - but the stand out moment has to be for poor Bela Lugosi - who in his later years became a friend of Wood and agreed to shoot some films with him.  Lugosi had actually died before Plan 9 started rolling and Wood used old footage of him in his garden - which he interspersed with shots of his dentist (yes, his dentist) holding a cape in front of his face

#7: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), REM

One of the things that was wrong with U2's last album "No Line On The Horizon" was that there were far too many songs on it with scatter-gun lyrics, IE lyrics that are compressed and falling over themselves to get out.  This can be effective on a stand-alone song, but when you get to the third or fourth one on the album get a bit tiresome

REM were an odd group, either very good or very bad with little inbetween, but Michael Stipe's lyrics for this, which are almost a stream of consciousness, are great fun to try and sing along to and remains one of those songs that you can't help but feel cheerful when singing along with

#8: Donnie Darko

How to describe this film?  A young boy wakes in the night to be warned of the end of the world by a horrific human/rabbit called Frank.  Narrowly escaping his own death he is drawn into a world of destruction, time-travel, explorations of fate versus choice and, ultimately, the end of the world

There are great performances throughout, not only in Jake Gyllenhall as the troubled lead, but in Drew Barrymore as the teacher trying to encourage the kids to think and perhaps most impressive of all Patrick Swayze as the motivational speaker.  Not a film to watch to make you cheerful - but definately one to make you think

Monday, 17 December 2012

12 Days Of Christmas, Pixie Styliee

DAY #1

Dear Mr Pixie

Thank you for your recent enquiry to our store.

Sadly I have to report that we do not sell Partridges, nor indeed any other member of the pheasant family.  Our remit does not allow us to sell wildfowl and as such we are unable to help you further with your enquiry at this time.

We did try a series of local farmers who specialize in avian stock and the closest we could get were some peacocks - if you would be willing to purchase one of these instead we can put you in contact with the breeder concerned.

As to the pear tree, we are unable to help in this matter and can only you suggest you try your local garden centre - though we feel that they may be out of stock at this time of year.

Yours sincerely

Anna Conda
Head of Pet Resource
Pets R Us

Note to self from Pixie: Would a DVD of The Partridge Family, or Alan Partridge (A.Partridge) be sufficient?

Day #2

Dear Mr Pixie

We were very intrigued by your letter inquiring as to whether we could sell you two turtle doves.  We are, as you can probably tell from our business title, a milk farm - IE we raise and breed cattle for milk.  Perhaps the fact that our farm still appears, erroneously, on Googlemaps as Dove Farm, confused you in this matter?

In any event, and to spare you any further confusion we would like to confirm that we cannot supply you with the above mentioned livestock, but would invite you to follow the link to our website where we sell our homemade cheese.

Yours sincerely

Milk Incorporated
Dove Farm

Note to self from Pixie: get some Dove soap - it's close enough

Day #3

Bonjour M Pixie

Thank you for writing to the French Embassy.  We are sorry to report that the sale of hens from any region of France is currently heavily restricted and the import/export laws would mean that there would be a significant delay in the supply of your stock.

If you are still interested in applying for the four months quarantine process please let us know and we will be happy to arrange a viewing of your livestock holdings to see if they are suitable.

In the meantime we remain your loyal servant

M Le Fru-fru
Secretary to the French Ambassador

Note to self from Pixie: shame Herself isn't musical - wonder if she'd appreciate a french horn or not?

Day #4

Dear Mr Pixie

Thank you for your further enquiry

As previously mentioned it is not within the remit of Pets R Us to sell wildfowl - however, after a brief internet search, we remain confused as to exactly what a "collie bird" is.  Is this some weird hybrid of a red setter and a pigeon?

Perhaps you have made a typo - do you mean a "calling bird" - in which case we may be able to sell you a parrot?

Best of luck with your Christmas shopping

Anna Conda
Head of Pet Resource
Pets R Us

Note to self from Pixie: remember those electric singing fish?  Wonder if they do those with birds?

Day #5

Dear Mr Pixie

Thank you for your letter to Mr Michael Phelps, dated 7th November.  As you correctly state in your letter he has "won rather a lot of gold medals" over recent years - in total 18.

Thank you also for your concern that he might be "rather running out of shelf space", however this does not mean that he is willing or ready to sell five of them to you - even if it is so that you can send them to your true love

We are sorry that we cannot help you further with this issue - have you considered approaching Mark Spitz - we heard a rumor recently that he was looking to downsize his apartment.

Yours sincerely

Bute R Fly
Secretary to the Olympic Commission

Day #6

Dear Mr Pixie

Thank you for your recent purchase of six Geese.  We apologize that they were not to your expectations, however we would like to point out that it is extremely difficult to get any animal to produce offspring on demand - and to expect them to "lay" at the precice moment they were delivered was perhaps optimistic at best

However as a gesture of good faith we are hereby sending you a full refund - this being Christmas we feel that we can easily sell them to someone who has grown tired of Turkey on Christmas Day.

Gosling Farm

Day #7

Dear Mr Pixie

Thank you for your letter to Her Majesty.  The Queen was most gratified to hear that you are looking forward to her annual Christmas Day speech and enjoyed the Christmas card immensely.

I can confirm that technically under British law the Queen is the owner of all live Swans, but we feel that we should clarify that she doesn't actually tend to them in person: nor does she have a readily available stockpile

The Queen therefore wishes to apologize that she is unable to meet your request and sell you any number of swans.  We would also advise you against contacting HRH Prince Charles, who under British law owns all dead swans. 

This is something of a grey area in law as historically the above is true, but in recent history there has been no actual handling of fowls by Her Majesty - who much prefers corgis.

Yours in service

Mrs Evadne Smudge
Lady In Waiting to Queen Elizabeth II

Day #8

Dear Mr Pixie

Thanks for contacting us again, as we were wondering how you were doing with your Christmas list.  

Sadly our farm is mostly automated and we don't employ eight milkmaids.  We do have a farm hand called Derek who says he is prepared to put on a dress for forty quid - but to be honest, he would make a rather hairy milkmaid, so we would probably advise against it

Good luck with the rest of your gifts

Milk Incorporated
Dove Farm

Day #9

Dear Mr Pixie

Thank you for your recent inquiry.   Sadly the Bolshoi Ballet does not perform private bookings and are unable to provide any number of ladies dancing

Nor are we intending to visit the UK any time soon

Have you considered a local line dancing club?

Ivana Rumba
Bolshoi Ballet

Day #10

Dear Mr Pixie

We are in receipt of your request to book Lords cricket ground for your annual Bunjee Jump - however, we feel that such an event would not be in keeping with the history of the grounds.

Yours sincerely

Lords Cricket Ground

Dear Mr Pixie

Thank you for your recent enquiry.  We have to admit that we have met with some mixed results.  Lord Mandelson has indicated that he may be available, but Lord Bath and Lord Rhys-Mogg are undecided.

Sadly, after much investigation of our books we are not aware of the existence of a Lord Vader

House of Lords

Day #11

Dear Mr Pixie

Thanks for writing to the local Salvation Army brass band - we are intrigued by your letter, but have to admit that we do not have any bagpipe players.

This is largely because bagpipes are not, in fact, a brass instrument.

We are not currently available for private bookings due to our prior Christmas bookings - however, we enclose a flyer of places that our performance can be seen and hope that you will feel moved to make a donation to the needy

The Salvation Army

Day #12

Bhangra Drums would like to thank you for your recent enquiry

Bhangra Drums is a local society looking to enthuse a new generation to get involved in music and to mix culturally during the process

Although we are not currently taking private bookings we hope to be doing so in early 2013 and will keep you on our mailing list 

Yours faithfully

Bhangra Drums Inc

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Final Film Review of 2012 (from me)

Well folks - I have only actually seen two more films since my last posting.  Our local arts cinema has remained tempting, but we've not really been drawn to anything much - so today I'm going to review the two films I have seen and also offer my thoughts on why I'm really not sure about seeing a third...

#1: Hysteria
As I've mentioned before on this blog our nearest cinema is a small affair that competes with the multiplexes via showing what I refer to as FROMAGE films (French ROad Movies About the Grimness of Existence) - by offering something different it succeeds in regularly filling its seats and gives you an alternative to Hollywood blockbusters, although it increasingly shows more of those as well...

And this year we had a two-for-the-price-of-one ticket that could be used once per month, hence we went to see a couple of films that we would otherwise not have seen.

And a couple of months back now we had to decide between a proper FROMAGE film (complete with subtitles) and the above mentioned effort.  In the end Herself was not feeling up to subtitles and as I wasn't really too fussed we chose Hysteria..on reflection it was not a good choice.

So the plot follows a fictionalized version of the events that led Dr Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) to invent the first vibrator, dealing with the treatment of Hyseria - a malady attributed to women for almost any disease or ailment for many years - treatment of which was to induce an orgasm manually, thus reducing tension (believe it or not many of the Doctors did not realise the "treatment" was pleasurable for the women) - but in some cases could effectively lead to women being institutionalized and "spayed"

As a sub-plot to this it also deals with Dr Granville's relationship with Charlotte Dalrymple (Maggie Gyllenhall), the daughter of the Doctor whose practice he works for - Charlotte is a staunch feminist who believes in women's rights at any lengths and actively defies her father in supporting the education and treatment of the poor.

The film goes wrong on several levels really: firstly by trying to treat a very serious point (about the maltreatment of some women) in a film whose tone is largely of a rom-com.  This means that opportunities to develop the idea of feminism and of the victorian attitude towards the poor and women are overlooked in favour of opportunities to laugh at revolving feather dusters.

Add to this that the main character is just too wet and...well, a french film about a millionaire in a wheelchair and his helper from the slums suddenly looks like the obvious cinematic choice - subtitles or no.

#2: Skyfall
I'm trying to think back here to the ancient past and define exactly when the last time was that I didn't go to see a new James Bond film at the cinema.

At the very least I saw For Your Eyes Only and everything since that - but I'm sure I must have seen Moonraker and even have a shaky memory that I might have seen Diamonds Are Forever at a matinee - but probably not on its initial release

Which makes going to see a new Bond film on the big screen A Tradition - and we all know that you have to uphold and continue traditions, even after the gobsmackingly awful Tomorrow Never Dies and Quantum Of Can Anyone Explain What Just Happened (also known as Quantum Of Solace)

Daniel Craig has had a mixed career so far as Bond - Casino Royale was a good back-to-basics, cashing in on the Jason Bourne films extravaganza but was arguably 30 minutes too long, but Quantum Of Solace was 2hrs of excrement thrown at the cinema screen by a hoarde of monkeys who had abandoned their typewriters (if anyone knows what Quantum were up to or what that film was actually in aid of please do feel free to tell me)

So Skyfall - and here I have to say that there were clearly those in the audience who were not enthralled as they were constantly checking their text messages during the film (either that or we have lost any attempt at an attention span) and who walked out saying how dull the effort was.

Essentially the plot revolves around a set of documents that are stolen containing lists of agents, for which M gets the blame - and a rogue agent with a grudge to settle.

It starts well and sets a good pace throughout, with Craig delivering a believable Bond and sparring nicely with Judi Dench as M.  However as the film carries on it seems to lose a little of that early energy and in an attempt to reflect the changing world that Bond finds himself in it settles for a much more downbeat finale than any Bond before

Still - on the whole, and despite a way-too camp performance from the villain, I thought it was a good return to the form of Casino Royale and continue to feel that Craig is the best Bond for a long while (Connery will always be THE best - let's just be clear on that)

#3: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
So I said at the start that I haven't seen this, and that I'm in two minds as to whether I want to or not.  Here are my reasons - if you have seen it and can think of better ones to go then please do give me a review by reply:
1: It's in 3-D. 
I object to 3-D on several grounds, mainly that it has been forced upon us by the industry largely because it makes copyright theft in cinemas harder, you have to wear those stupidy glasses (although maybe not for much longer), that films already manage to give you the impression of 3-D without stupidy glasses and, most importantly, a bad film in 3-D is no better for it, it's just a bad film in 3-D.

Can I also add on the subject of 3-D that it encourages directors to put in lots of scenes that are purely there so the audience can go "Wow, 3-D" (see "Avatar") - telling an interesting story would be better as far as i'm concerned

2) Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. 
Loved him in The Office as Tim - but his everyman/permanent look of surprise thing would no doubt be very wearing after the first 90 minutes

3) It's three hours long. 
90-120 minutes is all that is required in 98% of films - good three hour films that don't drag are extremely rare

4) Not only is it three hours long, but they have made 3x 3hr films
The Hobbit is a much smaller and more lightweight source than The Lord Of The Rings - which means if i go and watch this 3 hour film i will have to go and see two more.  The words "self" and "indulgent" spring to mind. Two films might even have been too much, but adding a third so that they can bring to life the Appendicies of Lord Of The Rings well... have you ever read the Appendicies?  I know I haven't

Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas Factoid #2: How Many Wise Men?

Well, as you will no doubt be aware by now dear long suffering reader we here at DFTP like to carry on with an idea and see it through once we've had it - which means that in the run up to Christmas this week I will be bringing you some pointless and potentially erroneous information about the Yuletide season which you can then duly share over your slowly congeling eggnog in that vital second between congratulating the chef for the turkey and retreating in agony as the flames from the christmas pudding singe your eyebrows.

Last week I revealed the shocking truth about Christmas Cracker Jokes and sat back and waited for the gasps of surprise to reverberate around the world (I checked on googlemaps and they're currently half-way across Sweden, but got distracted by the skiing)

This week I'm again turning to that dubious source of knowledge, the televisual programme QI (Quite Interesting) - a show that asks you questions about things you think you know and then reveals that the usual answer may be wrong.  They don't necessarily claim to be right themselves either - so please treat the below factoid as highly suspicious.  I would go so far as to advise wearing gloves and handling it with a pair of tweezers until safely disposed of.


Factoid #2: The Nativity Scene Ain't What It Used To Be

Anyone who has kids, or used to be a kid (and that's most of us with the possible exception of Benjamin Button) will have been in or attended a school nativity play.  I don't know what this is like today: my only term of reference is the film Love Actually, where people learn to speak foreign languages in the four week run up to Christmas (and, as such, i tend not to trust as an impeccable source of fact) but in my day it was a wooden crib/manger, some tuneless recorders and a bunch of kids with tea-towels on their heads.

No doubt at least one third of the above (the tea-towels) is not allowed these days, as it's deeply insensitive to say the least - but lets imagine that the basics are: a toy doll to represent Jesus, three shepherds, three wise men, Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh and of course an X-Box...

But wait a minute...how many wise men did you just say?  Three????

Naughty naughty.

Firstly - they weren't wise men.  I mean - you probably worked that out for yourselves on the grounds that they apparently thought that perfume and balm were sensible presents for a baby (I'd be willing to bet real money that Mary changed them for the equivalent of a pack of pampers the next day) - they were Magi - which is an entirely different kettle of fish

Secondly - there weren't three of them.  Well, there could have been - but we don't know.  Nowhere in The Bible does it stipulate the number of Magi present - we assume that there were three because there were three gifts, but there could have been four and one got to the shops too late (it was, after all, Christmas and there were probably queues...) or three hundred and only their leaders brought gifts.

Also forget any animals that you think may have been present at the birth - again The Bible doesn't say anything - and there's only one mention of where Jesus was born (in Luke, apparently) so there may not have been a manger either.

All in all I will probably stick with the romantic image of the birth: sheep, donkeys, shepherds, wise men and - if you believe Love Actually - lobsters.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Reader Appreciation Award (a Bug fix)


Well, it's not often that we here at DFTP get given an award, but when we do we feel slightly humbled - and if its from someone who's blog we look forward to reading then we feel ever so slightly chuffed into the bargain

So I'm very pleased that The Bug has chosen to select me for a Reader Appreciation award, because her blog with its 365 project, Tax Time Pig, Thankful Thursdays, pictures of moons and squirrells (and if we're honest folks I always quite enjoy "state of the bug" as well) is a "must read" for me, preferably with a nice hot cup of coffee 

So this is how it goes - one accepts the award, answers the questions and then passes it on to several friends or co-bloggers.  I'm going to pick just three I'm afraid - my good friend and musical partner in crime Argent in a vain attempt to try and get her back into blogging, the rather wonderful Chubby Chatterbox and the lady without whom no Wednesday would be complete (with or without Old Postcards) Lydia - although i will understand if none of you pass it on. 

Bug, who is kind enough to enjoy my regular List-O-Fives also said I might want to reply with a list-o-fives, so here goes:

 ::Where do you do most of your writing/blogging?
1) On the sofa in my front room.
2) With the TV on in the background (technically still on the sofa)
3) With a cat on either side of me (or sat between me and the computer)
4) When i should be doing far more important things (IE paying attention to the cats or Herself)
5) At no particular times really because my attention on things is so fleeting

::What books were your childhood favorites?
1) I read some Roald Dahl stuff as a kid - Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and its rather poor sequel, plus James And The Giant Peach - but other than that i wasn't really a fan
2) We never seemed to read full books at school, only ever excepts but the ones that stick out are The Magic Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton), The Wierstone Of Brisigamen, The Lord Of The Flies
3) Around 120 TV novelizations of a popular Sci-Fi series, mostly novelized by a UK TV writer called Terrance Dicks, whose remit to deliver 10 episode stories to a strict maximum page count of 120 pages is largely responsible for my own no-nonsense, cut to the action style of writing.
4) Read The Hobbit largely because it came free with the ZX Spectrum game, but can't say I really enjoyed it as a kid (The Lord Of The Rings is far better)
5) Went through a phase of reading the James Bond books - some were very good, some not so

:: Who is your favorite fictional character?
1) I always thought the great thing about that mysterious Time Lord The Doctor (Doctor Who) was how intensely moral he was - if he thought the monsters were having the hard time of it he was likely to side with them.  Plus, with Tom Baker's Doctor particularly there was that immense sense of fun and anticipation - Tom had a way of walking into a room as if it were the most amazing place he'd ever been and always assumed the best of people until proven otherwise - its a shame that more people aren't like that and also a shame that they've now made The Doctor so young and "manic" that its hard to imagine anyone wanting to grow up like him because chances are they're already that old
2) There's a classic question amongst Star Trek fans as to who's the best: Kirk or Picard.  For me there's no contest - James T Kirk. Dynamic, a bit of a rogue, willing to take risks and with the hint of the devil in his eyes.  Picard was good, but ST:TNG was so stuck in 80s America that i fear it has not dated well (perhaps in another 10 years i will feel different)
3) Arthur Dent - another sci-fi character but the one I most associate with - from The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy he is basically an average human trying to cope in a world that he doesn't understand and to make the best of things
4) Tom Baker - nothing you can say about him being a living person and famous actor will ever convince me that a man so much larger than life can be anything other than fictional
5) Luke Skywalker.  OK yes, so Han Solo was waaaaay cooler, but wouldn't you just do almost anything for a lightsabre?

::What is your favorite time of day and why?
1) Seriously for a second - sunrise and sunset, when the world is quiet and full of possibility - and before any humans come along and start messing up the place
2) Douglas Adams wrote about "The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul" which he described as that time on a Sunday afternoon when the shops are closed and there's nothing on TV other than religious programmes and time seems to slow
3) Not a specific time really - but that moment when you're doing something creative and are transported out of time entirely
4) When I hear the click of the kettle and sip my coffee
5) Any time of day that the cats/Herself chose to spend with me

::Who would play you in a movie of your life?
1) Henri Bergman (there's a seldom repeated Monty Python sketch where a contestant randomly shouts out the name of the obscure philosopher - and it turns out to be the right answer, so i thought - why not?)
2) Nicholas Cage - purely because Herself says she thinks i look a bit like him (but only in a world where Nicholas Cage looks like my mum)
3) Drew Barrymore (well, Cate Blanchett played Bob Dylan - plus it would be a good excuse to meet her) - mind you I have to say there's always that part of me that looks at Drew Barrymore now and thinks "but she was Gertie in ET"
4) I actually don't have a favourite actor - definately NOT Johnny Depp (he's good, but way to overexposed and over-hyped) - i'm honestly more interested in the look, feel and story of a film. My favourite film is Brazil and if we could nip back in time to hire an actor then Johnathan Pryce at that age might work well - otherwise i'll have the shouty chap in the washing detergent ads
5) Alexander Orlof (below) - whoever invented the idea of a russian meerkat selling car insurance deserves a knighthood - NOW!!

5) If we're honest here - someone gangly and a bit self-conscious