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Newsnight Review, Friday, 21 November, 2008

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Sarah McDermott | 15:32 UK time, Friday, 21 November 2008

Here's Kirsty with a look ahead to tonight's Newsnight Review:

At 11pm I'll be joining my guests Paul Morley, Bidisha and Matthew Sweet for Review.

We'll be discussing Blindness, Fernando Mereilles' apocalyptic film about a city struck by a plague of blindness. Starring Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore, Mereilles - who directed City of God and The Constant Gardener - says making the film of Jose Saramago's book was the hardest thing he's ever done.

Eddie Izzard is back on stage in "boy mode" with his new stand up show Stripped. He took it stateside first - playing 34 cities - and he kicks off the UK tour in London this week. He takes on the world as only he sees it - embracing everything from creationism, to dinosaurs, to Wikipedia, to assassins on drugs, in his freewheeling, free association way. Does it mark a new departure or is it more of what his loyal audience loves?

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Axl Rose has finally released an album - more expensive and longer in the making than any before it - well, it's being released on CD on Monday. It's already accessible via the Guns N' Roses MySpace site, but the guest reviewers and I had to listen to it holed up in Polydor's headquarters. Chinese Democracy is seventy minutes of Guns N' Roses - although Axl Rose is the only original band member left. Is it heavy rock heaven? It's certainly riding a wave - AC/DC and Metallica are enjoying a huge resurgence. Bidisha was a big Guns N' Roses fan back in the day, she's made a homage to them.

This week a tremor ran through television. The audience subverted the BBC's top talent show to keep John ("I'm only dancing") Sergeant in, only for him to sashay off. Two weeks ago 50,000 viewers complained to Ofcom after X Factor favourite Laura White was booted off the show. So what are talent shows really for now? Is the genre doomed?

Please do leave your comments about tonight's show below.


  • Comment number 1.

    Dear collaboratives from worldwide, life seems to be a film, for what kind of persons? Please take a babylon.exe to translate typings in the on-lone Romanian newspaper [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] and let me know on your opinions, comparing to this topic. Best regards, Amy

  • Comment number 2.

    In regard to your story of the challenge to America by upcoming nations I point to the King Of The North title hung on Moscow by bible prophecy. Exit the U.S.A. from top-of-the-hill and Moscow will fill the void.

  • Comment number 3.

    What ever politicians say the whole debate about public borrowing is a total sham.
    They all seem content to either deliberately mislead or they are completely clueless.
    No one can spend their way out of a mess. If you over borrow then to advocate borrowing even more is pure madness. And yet that is what this Goverment is telling us they want to do. One can only wonder how many future generations they are prepared to mortgage to save their political skins.
    In conjunction with the major Banks and the govenor of the Bank of England successive governments have conspired to Inflate the British economy with vast sums of money it does not have and in so doing it has devalued the currency on a regular basis. As they pump-up the economy with other peoples money they are the ones that create real Inflation. But they deliberately confuse Inflation with the Cost of Living.
    The price of bread, petrol or any other daily commodity is nothing to do with Inflation and should not be mentioned in the Inflation debate. Public sector wage demands are a direct consequence of Inflation but not the cause. The cause is known as Fractional Reserve Banking and allows the Banks to lend up to ten times their asset base. That is what has caused the credit crunch. The Banks have lent vast sums with breathtaking incompetence and now are hording cash as fast as they can go. They are each hoping that the bank next door will run out of liquidity before they do. The Government's hope that the Banks will start lending again to each other is a forlorn hope in the near future. Then the markets will decide the value of Sterling in due course and all this tinking around the edges by the Treasury will have little long term effect.
    I'm hoping to see large scale resignations in the financial sector shortly with fraud trials to follow. Those who have perpetrated this outrage on the world of Finance should be seriously punished without obscene payoffs. It happens in nearly every other walk of life so why not here.
    In the meantime batten down the hatches as those of us who must suffer this debacle must clear up the mess of a few conmen and wizzkids.

  • Comment number 4.

    bringing the thread back to review....

    NR is one of the few strange BBC rooms left where Gods and Goddesses hip hop their way through placeless and fascinating works of art filled with fear and oppression and spikey death traps.

    Hypnotic words are daisy chained as the window of great imagination is opened to let in the the freshness of a bigger message.

    The surrealist charm of young, hot and randy badgers and squirrels worried about their age and being run down by a truck is inked in as a tattoo of subversion.

    Finally we are left to ponder a talent show of transparent charm and ego as the poster licking pilgrims are robbed of their filthy greasy cheese.

  • Comment number 5.

    Why life and film/literature/arts are currently being so different from real life? See the [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]about the real life in Romania, a country of EU & member pf U.N., not to be already well known, yet. Attention: you must ise your babylon.exe for translation and never miss a post!! Yours, Amy

  • Comment number 6.

    Why does Newsnight Review break the law every week?

    It is statistically impossible in a country with only 10% ethnic minorities and where their attendance is, on average, lower at opera, ballet, theatre, art galleries, museums and even consuming the kind of literature reviewed on this programme, that every week there could be an ethnic minority panelist other than by illegal, positive discrimination i.e. by deliberate choice in preference to a white contributer.

    -Just like the BBC reserves a starring role for a non-white actor in every TV series, thus excluding better white actors/actresses.

    Promoting minorities at the expense of the majority (and standards) is a betrayal of the vast majority of license payers.

    (And like a good totalitarian, I expect you'll be proud to remove this post?)

  • Comment number 7.


    The NNR last night was another example of the presenter allowing a male panel member who clearly likes the sound of his own voice far too much to interrupt the female member repeatedly. Bidisha always has something useful and intelligent to say. However, we could not benefit from her eloquence adequately because either she was stopped halfway through sentences by Paul Morley or did not get the opportunity to say anything because he took up most of the air time gibbering.

  • Comment number 8.

    Actually, despite what I've just said - which was predictably moderated because it was non-PC - I agree with the previous poster that Bidisha was unacceptably interrupted mid-sentence. It's bad enough Kirsty Wark always interrupting every contribution to insert her view, without Paul Morley making it worse. He was bloody rude in fact.

  • Comment number 9.

    #7 I was about to suggest that if Paul Morley is to appear on NNR again, he should do so with a sock in his mouth. If necessary, with a foot inside it.

  • Comment number 10.

    One of the reviewers said that no one thinks these shows are really a serious career move (or words to that effect). This may be true of 'celebrity' shows like Strictly Come Dancing, but I think, as regards the X Factor, Leona Lewis, Kelly Clarkson (from American Idol) and Rhydian would beg to differ - these shows have made their careers and they wouldn't be where they are without them.

    I think it is important to acknowledge the difference between a 'celebrity' show in which celebrities try to revive their careers, and where its impact may be minimal (though not always) and an open show. No matter what goes on behind the scenes, or how many winners quickly disappear into obscurity, for some people, this really is the start of their career and its enormously important to them.

  • Comment number 11.


    Is it OK to post this here. Its (is that with an ' as a possesive, or without, or with as an ommissive as in it is) as a thread on webteam blog Thrsday 20th November.

    Just watched a bit of the x-factor results show. Really impressed with the Same Difference new single. They must have had some good song writers don't know if it was a Diane Warren et al composition. Rock/mainstream crossover.

    Try this but don't look at the video etc, because of the presentation of image. It's really good feel good stuff, that I can imagine the young kids will be listening too.

    If I hadn't seen Same Difference doing it I would have been hard placed to guess. But don't know who engineers, producers, writers, session players are. It might not make it because of image etc, but I think its a great song just on the listening.

    Reaching for the sun.

    This is love! This is life!
    This is good! This is great!
    This is all that we’ve believed in!

    All this time, all the tears,
    All the prayers, all these years,
    We’ve waited on this feeling…

    Together! Together! We’re coming undone.
    Together! Together! Baby, We R One!

    I admit it starts Lionel Ritchie-ish, but to me it then it has an anthemic Bon Jovi quality. This could be any stadium rock track. (on 3rd listen it ends on a Hawkwind wssssshhhhh).

    It will be interesting to see how it does. It might disappear dismissed as a cheesy, finished 3rd, X Factor, brother/sister duo.

    I could headbang to it between Silver Machine and Highway to Hell.

    With all the bad news in the news and culture I am interested to see how a 'musically' constructed uplifting rock anthem does against that background.

    Having worked a bit in music doing concert technical managing, my ear says it should do well. Some critics have panned it because it is Same Difference, my ear says otherwise. It is for the kids.

    Let the charts (democracy) decide.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 12.

    Just a short gripe about mispronunciation. On Friday's Newsnight Review, in her intro to the discussion about "Blindness", Kirsty Wark pronounced José Saramago as if he were Spanish rather than Portuguese. It should be José with a soft "j", rather than the Spanish aspirated "j". She also mangled the director's surname, Meirelles. The double l is pronounced "l", just like the English "l". I know that reporters and presenters can't always get it right, but the basic assumption that Portuguese and Spanish can just be bundled together is very misguided.


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