THE FRIDAY FIVE – 16.6.2017

1. The Killers – The Man
2. George Ezra – Don’t Matter Now
3. Adam West – Minding My Business
4. Lindsay Buckingham and Christine McVie – Red Sun
5. Nerina Pallot – Stay Lucky

It was announced that Paul Weller is coming to Belfast in February next year. It’s the day after my birthday too. Wish me luck in getting a ticket for this, even though he was a grumpy arse the last time he was in Belfast.

So, to celebrate, here’s a Paul Weller chart

FIVE SONGS BY PAUL WELLER

1. Paul Weller – Changingman
2. The Jam – Beat Surrender
3. Paul Weller – Sunflower
4. Paul Weller – Mermaids
5. The Jam – Start

Apparently, there’s a thing called Manchester Day. It’s this Sunday. That sounds like an excuse for a Manchester themed chart.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM MANCHESTER

1. Oasis – Don’t Go Away
2. Puressence – It Doesn’t Matter Anymore
3. The Courteeners – Van Der Graaff
4. New Order – True Faith
5. The Smiths – Panic

TOP 25 SIMPSONS GUEST STARS

Believe it or not, America’s favourite family celebrates 25 years since it’s first ever episode (full episodes, not it’s appearances on The Tracey Ullman Show)

That’s The Simpsons, not The Waltons, although George Bush might disagree. George Bush was, of course, a memorable Simpsons character, although it wasn’t voiced by him. If it was, it would have been one of the greatest Simpsons guest stars ever.

In celebration of The Simpsons 25th anniversary, here’s 25 of the best guest stars of The Simpsons.

1. MICHAEL JACKSON

Jackson played a man pretending to be Michael Jackson, who befriended Homer when Homer was admitted to an asylum, referred to by guards as “The big white guy who thinks he’s the little black guy”

Homer has never heard of Michael Jackson, prompting the classic line :

“I’ve never heard of you, name one of your songs” “Beat It” “No you beat it”

Homer invites “Michael” to visit his family, who speaks to Bart, who is fooled by the voice believing him to be Michael Jackson, so he tells everyone.

A large crowd appears, only to be disappointed when it wasn’t Michael Jackson. Meanwhile, Bart forgets to get Lisa a birthday present, so “Michael” helps Bart write a song for her.

2. DUSTIN HOFFMAN

Hoffman played an inspirational teacher, Mr Bergstrom, who covers for Miss Hoover when she goes off sick. Mr Bergstrom isn’t afraid to make fun of himself, encouraging his kids to make fun of his name, suggesting Mr Nerdstrom or Mr Boogerstrom.

Eventually, he leaves town for another school, leaving Lisa heartbroken.

Classic line, came after bumping into Lisa and Homer at a museum, to Lisa :

“I thought that your dad was helping you with your homework. After talking to him, I believe that not to be the case”

3. RINGO STARR

A brief one, where Marge rediscovers her love of painting, and it emerges she sent some paintings of Ringo Starr to Ringo Starr. He’d spent 25 years replying to fanmail and finally got around to Marge. In this episode, he revealed that his real name is Richard, and that they have french fries in England, only they call them chips.

4. SPINAL TAP

Bart goes to a Spinal Tap concert and decides he wants to be a rock star. Taking his guitar to school, Otto gives an inpromptu concert on the buss, causing him to run late, then speed to get the kids to school on time, causing him to lose his lices, job and house. He eventually gets them all back.

It’s Spinal Tap, who steal the show, with so many classic lines ”

“Hello Springton!!!!”

“We’re very big in Eastern Europe. We bought a soccer team in Hungaria, or is it Bulgaria. I dunno, it’s one of the Garias”

“Could you record a trailer, nobody rocks as good as Bill and Marty?” “But what if somebody does rock as good as Bill and Marty? Or better?”

5. ELIZABETH TAYLOR

Two time guest star, playing Maggie Simpson, only saying one word at the end of the episode where the reminisce about Lisa’s first word. Although, none of the other family members heard it.

Then there was a later appearance as herself, turning down the chance to appear in a Krusty The Clown Special

6. KELSEY GRAMMAR

Sideshow Bob. Say no more. So many appearances, i’m not even sure if he’s a guest star or a regular cast member.

Classic Moment : The rakes. Burrrggggghhhh!!!!! Burrrggggghhhh!!!!!

7. DANNY DEVITO

A guest role as Herb Powell, as Homer’s half brother, who Homer only discovered when Granpa made a deathbed confession when he thought he was dying. It turns out, that Herb is a very rich man, making his money from running a car company.

Herb decides to bond with his new found brother, allowing him to design a car, with predictable results, ending with him being bankrupt.

Devito makes a second appearance, where he gets back on his feet and becomes successful again through a range of baby monitors, with the help of Homer.

8. GEORGE HARRISON

A second Beatle in this chart, Harrison says hello to Homer backstage at the Grammys, during his pop star days with The B Sharps, though is more excited about the food on offer. Later in the episode, The Be Sharps do a rooftop gig for fans, and Harrison’s chauffer driven car pulls over, for him to dismissively comment “That’s been done”

9. JON LOVITZ

Originally appeared as Jay Sherman, in cross promotion for his show The Critic, where he plays a film critic. Springfield hosts a film festival where he is invited to be a judge. Sherman finds himself being wedgied from a basketball hoop after accidentally suggesting (prompted by Bart) that MacGyver was gay, facing the wrath of Patti and Selma.

Lovitz also appears as the recurring character Artie Ziff, forever determined to win Marge’s affections.

10. JACKIE MASON

Legendary comedian plays the disapproving Rabbi dad of another comedian, Hershal Krustovsky (or, if you prefer, Krusty The Clown). In real life, Jackie Mason used to be a Rabbi.

11. PATRICK STEWART

Known simply as Number One, Stewart plays the leader of a secret organisation called The Stonecutters, who in son, claim to control the British crown, keep the metric system down, keeps the martians under wraps, and keeps Atlantic off the maps.

Although, he is deposed by Homer, after it emerges he has the sacred Stonecutters birthmark. Disagreements about Homer’s direction of the organisation results in a breakaway group, which excludes Homer.

12. GLENN CLOSE

Close stars as Homer’s long lost mum, Mona, in a few brief appearances. Upon meeting his new grandmother, Bart immediately brings up the backdated birthday and christmas presents he is owed.

Mona bonds with Lisa, they start singing Blowin In The Wind by Bob Dylan …

“How many roads must a man walk, before you can call him a man?” – Homer shouts a number before being told it was a rhetorical question, only to shout another number.

13. DOLLY PARTON

A brief appearance, she helps Homer and friends escape from “Superbowl Jail” with her make-up remover, after she shares a mutual friend with Homer, Travel Agent Wally Kogen, who organised the ill fated Superbowl trip.

14. MARK HAMILL

By being swamped by fans at a convention, Mark Hamill accidentally sends Homer’s career spinning in the direction of the security industry, when Mayor Quimbey is impressed by Homer’s rescue of Hamill.

Classic moment : Homer and Hamill flee to safety in a prop spaceship, only for them to exit ti seconds later, with Homer saying “How was I supposed to know it wasn’t a real spaceship?”

15. DONALD SUTHERLAND

Sutherland plays a historian fiercely loyal to the legacy of Jebediah Springfield, to the point that he attempts to sabotage Lisa’s investigation when she gets a sniff that Jebediah Springfield might not be the great cultural icon he’s made out to be, to the point she, her children, and her children’s children are banned from the Springfield Historical Society. For three months.

16. ADAM WEST

Masked crimefighter and political icon West is the guest of honour at a car show, where Bart and Lisa don’t know who he is, having only seen Tim Burton’s Batman movies, asking “Why doesn’t Batman dance? Remember the Batusi?”

17. JAY LENO/STEVEN WRIGHT

Jay Leno organises a Comedy Festival in Springfield, and Bart persuades him to put Krusty on the bill. Krusty bombs and announces his retirement, on a low. At his press conference, Krusty goes on a rant, having the press in howls of laughter, so he announces his comeback, and an edgy, underground comedian, before failing to resist the lure of money and commercialism, by appearing in a car commercial.

Steven Wright appears on the bill, declaring that he read the dictionary, and it turns out the zebra did it. Everybody laughs, except Homer, who didn’t get the joke.

18. STING

Bart plays a prank on Springfield, putting a two way radio down a well, pretending to be a trapped child under the name of Timmy O’Toole. Realising he put his nametag on the radio, Bart tries to retrieve it, only to fall down himself.

Timmy’s case got widespread sympathy, including a charity single, where Krusty contacts Sting, who he had sacked his opening at some years earlier.

Sting gets his hands dirty in the rescue mission, prompting this classic line :

“Mrs Simpson, I can’t sit by while one of my fans is in trouble”
“Actually, i’ve never heard Bart play any of your records”

Only for Homer to whisper “Shut up Marge, he’s a good digger”

19. THE WHO

Springfield gets split into two, with their own version of the Berlin Wall, only for a concert by The Who to reunited the divided city.

20. LISA KUDROW

The only Friend on the list, Kudrow plays a new girl at the school, who befriends Lisa’s circle of friends, and struggles to understand why a bunch of eight year olds are so immature.

21. DAVID HYDE PIERCE

Joining another guest star (shouldn’t be too hard to guess who) as Cecil Terwilliger, Bob’s brother, who still hasn’t got over missing out on being Krusty’s sidekick, attempting to frame his brother in a dodgy construction scam, which would result in a dam bursting.

When confronted by Bob, Cecil says he’ll get away with it due to a criminal mastermind with a grudge against the city being on the payroll, to which Bob reference’s Cousin Merle (one of the construction workers) and his issues with parking tickets, before “Oh. you mean me”

22. DAVID DUCHOVY/GILLIAN ANDERSON

Before investigating crime in Belfast, Gillian Anderson (along with X-Files co-star David Duchovny) investigated extra terrestrial activity in Springfield, when Homer claimed he saw an alien. It turned out to be Mr Burns, glowing, after his Friday evening medical treatment.

23. MARTIN SHEEN

Sheen stars as Seymour Skinner, who turned out to be held in a POW Camp for 25 years, and that the principal of the local school, was a fraud. The other Skinner came to inform Agnes Skinner that her son was believed to be dead, but he didn’t get a chance to deliver the news as she immediately took him in, believing him to be her son.

The new Skinner gets put in charge of the school, but his reign is unpopular, and is overthrown and deported from Springfield, with the fraud Skinner going back to his original job, and the real Skinner is never spoken of again.

24. JOHN WATERS

Waters plays a gay shop owner who Homer befriends, not knowing he is gay. Homer insists that John and his wife to dinner, only for Marge to drop hints that “John prefers being in the company of men”, which Homer replies “Who doesn’t?”, interpreting it as like he is in the company of Lenny and Karl at Moe’s

Homer eventually realises that John is gay, and sends Bart to kill a Reindeer, as a final attempt to try and stop Bart being gay in the future, only for the animals to attack them, and John arrives on the scene to save the day/

25. BASEBALL LEGENDS

I know nothing about Major League Baseball, but I know the episode where Mr Burns hires various Baseball legends to work at the power plant in order to play as ringers for the company team is a classic episode.

HOLY BATBLOG!!!! : THE FRIDAY FIVE – BATMAN SPECIAL

Today sees the release of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, and it would be rude not to commemorate this with a tribute to The Caped Crusader.

Forget Christian Bale. Forget George Clooney. Forget Val Kilmer. Even forget Michael Keaton. There is only one true Batman. His name, is Adam West.

Before Family Guy, West saved Gotham City from Baddies and made all our lives better in a live action television series. I used to love watching repeats of this as a child, and still love watching repeats on weekday mornings on ITV 4.

So comical, so colourful, so wonderful. How can you not love Adam West?

Captions of made up words accompanied punches, while Chief O’Hara was a joy, always struggling to work out which master criminal based in Gotham City would taunt them with a joke. A joke!!! If only there was a criminal in Gotham City known for his jokes.

So here, are the Top Five moments of the 1960s Batman TV series (and accompanying Movie)

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Zoink!!!

There are so many great moments, that there are great moments left out.

LIBERACE CAMEO

Ker-Pow!!! Liberace playing a pianist under the pay of his evil twin brother, who plays a note which deafens people, allowing his evil brother to jump in and steal their belongings. He masterfully played both roles. #holyeviltwin

CHAD AND JEREMY

Biff!! A real band, believe it or not (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, and every other major band of the 60s must have been unavailable) who played themselves doing a concert in Gotham City, where Catwoman stole their voices.

The plan was to stop them making music, thus making money, and paying taxes to UK Treasury, and thus causing all world economies to collapse. How dastardly.

I imagine if the show was remade today, it would be One Direction having their voices stolen, though i’d like to think Batman would just turn a blind eye to that one. #holyworldeconomycollapse

JOKER JELLY

Splat!! In one episode, The Joker turns Gotham City’s water supply into jelly. I’d love it if that happened in Belfast just to see NI Water make a bollocks of the situation #holyjelly

RETURN TO THE BATCAVE

Urkk!! 2003 biopic starring Adam West and Burt Ward looking back at the show. It begins with Adam West getting ready for a charity function, lifting the head of a statue to slide down a pole to get change.

His butler, Jerry, asks if it is a nostalgic nod to the TV show, to which West replies “No Alfred, it came with the house”

After angrily pointing out that his name is Jerry, West replies “Sorry Alfred”

It continues being that funny. Well worth checking out. #holybiopic

EXPLODING SHARK

Eeee-Yoh!! This needs no introduction. The opening scene to the movie. Batman fights a Shark, which turns out to be and exploding robot.

Luckily, Batman has Anti-Shark Repellant Spray in his utility belt and manages to escape.

Lucky that. #holyexplodingshark

5. CHAT WITH SAMMY DAVIS JUNIOR

Plop!! A classic recurring gag, Batman and Robin climb up a wall, someone opens their window to see what’s going on, and engages in a casual chat with Batman and Robin.

In one episode, they were climbing up a building where Sammy Davis Junior was rehearsing, and engaged in casual natter with the Dynamic Duo.

Davis suggests that Batman and Robin see him in concert, by way of mutual appreciation as “I did your act”

I imagine if the show was filmed today, it would probably involve some rapper, talking street talk, and Batman talking street back to him. Sigh. #holyratpack

4. HOLY TAXATION

Blurp!! Batman and Robin park outside the baddies lair, but before jumping in, proper order first, Batman pays the parking meter.

“But no Traffic Warden would give the Batmobile a ticket!!!” cries an over-eager Robin, to which Batman replies “This money goes towards building better roads, we all must contribute” prompting Robin to utter “Holy taxation”

That’s what stops me being a masked vigilante in Belfast, bloody Traffic Wardens wouldn’t hesitate to give me a ticket while i’m saving the city, especially around Ormeau Avenue and Botanic. #holycivicduty

3. LONDINIUM EPISODE

Whap!! Not just a moment, but a whole (three-part) episode, set in Ye Merry Olde England (Or England, as Americans view it)

Commissioner Gordon is attending a conference in “Londinium”, where there is a crime spree, and the “President Of London” asks Batman for help.

Just imagine a modern remake of that, Boris Johnson starring as himself asking Batman to help stop a crime spree in London.

Batman travels to London, conveniently at the same time Bruce Wayne (with his Ward, Dick Grayson) travels there on Wayne Foundation business, as does Barbara Gordon, as a guest of her dad.

In London, Robin gets captured by a gang of sexy females and hates every minute of it. Batgirl goes to the Cricket Club where he is held to rescue him and gets captured, and locked in the dungeon.

Batman goes to the dungeon to rescue Batgirl, but gets locked in, but uses an Indian Rope Trick for both of them to escape by climbing up and out of a window.

All three of them then stop a robbery of the Crown Jewels, and Ye Merry Olde England returned to being peaceful and crime free. #holyapplesandpairsguvnor

2. THE BATUSI

Vronk!! Batman (Robin is too young to be allowed in) visits a nightclub to investigate some crime, where he gets involved in conversation with a woman who asks him to dance. Ever the perfect gentleman, Batman dances. Not just any dance, but his version of the Watusi ……… The Batusi. #holystrictlycomedancing

1. TRYING TO GET RID OF A BOMB

Bam!! Batman goes to a bad guys lair, but it’s a trap, they’ve left a bomb for him. He can’t let it explode as there’s a full pub underneath, so what does he do?

Everywhere he tries to go, he meets obstacles : Marching bands, Nuns, women pushing prams, A young couple on a boat, Ducks

Eventually, Batman utters the immortal words “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb”

Luckily he did, just in time. #holybombdisposal

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 24.2.2012

1. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Supersonic
2. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Talk Tonight
3. Emeli Sande – Next To Me
4. Gotye – Somebody I Used To Know
5. Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid

Seeing as this week saw what would have been Kurt Cobain’s 45 th birthday, why not have a Nirvana Chart.

For the life of me, I just can’t imagine what Kurt Cobain would have been like as a 45 year old.

FIVE NIRVANA SONGS

1. Come As You Are
2. You Know You’re right
3. Smells Like Teen Spirit
4. Heart Shaped Box
5. Man Who Sold The World

This week saw the 500th episode of The simpsons be broadcast. I am an unashamed Simpsons geek, so, here are my Top Five Simpsons guest stars

FIVE SIMPSONS GUEST STARS

1. Ringo Starr
2. Michael Jackson
3. Dustin Hoffman
4. Stan Lee
5. Adam West

HOLY OMISSION SKY MOVIES!!!!

This week, Sky Movies are launching the ‘Batman Boxset’, where viewers can watch all Batman movies, which are being broadcast at various intervals.

Eagle-eyed Batfans will notice that there is one shocking omission, the 1967 movie spin-off from the TV series.

Sadly, the TV series and associated spin-offs appear to be written out of Bat-History by Warner Brothers, which is sad, as it’s the one thing I often associated when I think of the portrayals of the caped crusader.

It’s a show which brings back memories from my childhood, which is probably why I love it so much.

When the Tim Burton 1989 movie was released, it gave the TV show a new lease of life.

For some random reason, my dad used to always record it for me, as it was on during the wee small hours, as part of ITV Nightscreen, and I would then watch it the following day after coming home from school.

I used to love Chief O’Hara struggling to work out which criminal they were dealing with, despite it being so blindingly obvious.

“They’ve left us a clue ……….. in the form of a joke, who could it be?” he could be found screaming at the crime scene, painfully trying to work out which criminal in Gotham City specialises in jokes, before Batman suggests that it is possibly the work of The Joker.

O’Hara would then usually ask “Why didn’t I think of that?” as Batman politely ignores the opportunity to point out that it’s because he’s a complete idiot.

I suppose that’s why Chief O’Hara is such an endearing character, because we all know someone like him.

We’ve all work with a ‘O’Hara’, someone who has managed to get into a position of authority, despite seemingly being a halfwit who can’t even spot a problem when it is staring right in front of them.

O’Hara however, has a heart of gold, as he once stated during the show that he is “Violently opposed to police brutality”

With this guy the second most senior police officer in the city, it was no surprise that Gotham City was over-run by criminals, especially with criminals being released seemingly every six weeks going by the recurring nature of the casting.

To combat this, the producers began inventing characters such as Egghead, played by Vincent Price and whipping up an array of bad egg-based yokes, sorry, jokes.

There was once a simpler age when you would put your coat hood on your head, using it as a cape to recreate the slapstick fight scenes (The A-Team had by now replaced as the TV show to recreate in our school playground)

This wasn’t case of children copying something violent they seen on TV. It wasn’t violent you see, as made up words such as KER-POW!!!!, BIFF!!! and ZOINK!!!! would appear on screen.

It might have been violence, but it was comic violence, like Stan and Ollie, especially as Batman and Robin were usually defeated by their own stupidity, but never violently.

Having scored an own goal through their own stupidity, the bad guys usually left them in an easy to get out of trap before leaving them unsupervised in order to escape, and them having the cheek to be shocked, usually asking “I thought you were dead”

Batman’s escape was usually aided by one of the various bat-branded products in his utility belt, with Robin usually exclaiming “Holy ………”.

He might have been generally useless when it came to fights, but at least he had a way with words and a “Holy ………..!!!!!!” for any occasion.

Comedy was an essential part of the show, and the worse the punchline, the better.

To rank alongside O’Hara’s remark about police brutality, Batman once memorably declined the offer of a VIP table in a nightclub (where he was staking out a criminal) as “He didn’t want to attract attention”, because a man dressed in tights and cape wouldn’t attract attention.

Incidentally, for that scene, Robin was outside as he was too young to be in the nightclub. Despite being a masked crimefighter, Robin has to obey the laws of the land, it’s called Good Citizenship.

Memorably, Batman once took time out after parking outside a villains lair to pay the parking metre despite Robin pointing out that no parking attendant would dare to give the Batmobile a parking ticket.

That wasn’t the point, Batman was using the facility, and felt obliged to pay for it. After all, his money would go towards building better roads and improving the transport infrastructure in Gotham City.

Thanks to a combination of Batman and Mr T, I don’t speed, I pay parking tickets, I stay in school and say no to drugs. Ahh, the power of television.

The legend of Adam West lives on with his cameo appearances on Family Guy, playing himself as the O’Hara-esque Mayor of Quohog, lampooning the Bruce Wayne character in the role.

An under-rated Batman movie is ‘Return To The Batcave’, where Adam West and Burt Ward player their older selves in a biopic of the TV show.

West demonstrates his comic ability which made him so loved as Batman by constantly called his butler ‘Alfred’ when his name is Gerry..

After having this pointed out, West apologises, saying “Sorry Alfred” before using a switch hidden underneath a statue to open a book cabinet which revealed a pole.

“A nostalgic nod to that TV show you were in Mister West?” asks Gerry, before Adam West replies, with a straight face, “No Alfred, it was part of the house when I bought it”.

Genius.

Some actors often battle typecasting but Adam West thrives on his fame. For many people, Adam West IS Batman, not Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney or Christian Bale.

As Adam West asked during his Simpsons guest appearance, why doesn’t Batman dance?

Where is the fun? Where is the colour? Why do the Batman movies have to be so dark?

And most importantly, why do the marketing men feel the need to write Adam West and the 1960s TV show out of Bat-History?

It could be best summed up, as Heath Ledger once remarked when playing The Joker, Why so serious?