Friday, April 22, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy subjected to garden gnomes and Elton John. That’s pretty much what the CG-animated movie ”Gnomeo and Juliet” is about and that’s not bad.
    The movie tells the story of the garden gnomes in the gardens of two neighbours, Mrs. Capulet and Mr. Montague who live in respectively 2B and Not 2B in Verona Street in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Mrs. Capulet’s garden gnomes are blue, Mr. Montague’s red, and blues and reds hate each other as much as their owners do. But of course the blue Gnomeo falls in love with the red Juliet and it turns out to be a difficult task to be lovers in the middle of a feud.
    The movie has quite a few funny Shakespeare in-jokes that you’ll only get if you know your Shakespeare and that way ”Gnomeo and Juliet” appeals more to an adult audience than kids. Furthermore the story has quite racy undertones, I mean, it’s perfectly clear what the size of the gnome hats are supposed to indicate!
    ”Gnomeo and Juliet” makes use of the voice talents of James McAvoy (Gnomeo), Emily Blunt (Juliet), Michael Caine (Lord Redbrick), Maggie Smith (Lady Bluebury), Ozzy Osbourne (Fawn), Dolly Parton (Dolly Gnome) and Patrick Stewart (Bill Shakespeare) - just to mention a few – and it is released through Touchstone Pictures. It is directed by Kelly Asbury, who also directed “Shrek 2”, so don’t be surprised if sometimes you get the feel that you’re watching “Shrek”. Especially Juliet’s character reminded me of Fiona from “Shrek” and the ending…well, see for yourself. The 3D effects were okay, by the way. Three out of five stars: ***

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Joe Matera – ”Face Off”

On May 2nd, former Geisha guitarist Joe Matera is releasing his new solo instrumental track named ”Face Off” which marks his return to his rock guitar roots after having released two acoustic tracks in 2010/2011.

“At the heart of my guitar playing lays a life long love affair with the electric guitar,” Joe Matera explains. ”After having delved into the world of acoustic guitar on my previous solo recordings, I felt the time was right to return to my primary first love; melodic rock guitar playing.”

”Face Off” is an energetic rocker featuring Matera’s signature melodic guitar playing. The track is written by Matera and as well as playing all the guitars, he also engineered and produced it. It is an exciting, melodic and breezy track where Matera’s guitar soloing follows in the tradition of guitarists such as Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Boston’s Tom Scholz and The Angel’s Rick Brewster. Rick Brewster actually makes a special guest appearance on one of the track’s guitar solos.

”Face Off” was mixed by Craig Pilkington (The Killjoys) at Audrey Studios, Melborn. Bass duties were handled by Tony ‘Demolition’ Dolan (Atomkraft, Venom), The track is released through Mercury Fire Music and will be available on iTunes from May 2nd. It is set to appear on Matera’s EP CD later this year, too.

For more information go to: http://www.joematera.com

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Don Powell biography blog

I now have a blog where you can follow the progress of my work with Slade drummer Don Powell’s official biography. You’ll find it at: http://www.donpowellbio.blogspot.com .
    In 2006 Don Powell asked me to write his biography and back then I thought it would be a 2 year project like any other of my books. Today I’m wiser.
    I decided on a format for the bio pretty quickly and the sources were to be Don’s diaries, interviews with Don and with his family, friends and colleagues. I started out making the interviews with Don and over the course of 3 years I made 14 interviews with him, amounting to a whopping 36 hours. The diaries I didn’t get until 2008 and as they go all the way back to the 1970s it took me several months to read through them and pick out what should be included in the biography and what not. By then a 2 year timeframe for the bio was out of the question and we postponed a possible release date until 2010.
    The work with interviewing Don’s family, friends and colleagues kicked off in December 2006. What first seemed to be a fairly easy part of the process, turned out more complicated than expected and I had to wait up to 4 years for some of the interviews that I needed. By February 2010 I thought I had made my last interview, but new contributors to the bio kept being added to the list and at the moment I’m still awaiting the comments from another 2 or 3 of Don’s colleagues.
    Then in November 2010 Don found a number of diaries which he thought he had lost. I’m still waiting to get those and yes, you have guessed it. We’ve had to postpone a possible release date yet another time. With a little luck I’ll finish the biography by December 2011, but I won’t guarantee it, as something new seems to pop up all the time. Anyway, on the new blog you’ll be able to follow the progress of the bio. Keep your fingers crossed that it won’t be a never-ending story!

It

One week has already passed since I saw the new movie-version of Stephen King’s horror novel ”It”. I should have written this re...