Oh. My. Actual. God. I just met John Landis.

And it was more awesome than you could possibly imagine…

Oh. My. Actual. God. I just met John Landis.

So I arrive at Sadler’s Wells theatre, about to see Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty, and I spot a grey-bearded man who reminds me of one of my heroes. As I pay for my cab, I catch a hint of an American accent and I think – ‘Actually, that’s got to be him! It is him!

I tell the girl, she doesn’t get it. I’m freaking out (quietly) inside. I don’t get starstruck, but John Landis? Come on!

Once we’re seated I nip out to get a programme and he’s still outside, chatting away. I check my phone, google his face; yup – that’s DEFINITELY HIM.

Everso politely I interrupt and explain I’m a huge fan and that, while i don’t want to disturb his day, I’d love to get a photo because – and I quote – ‘…Blues Brothers is pretty much on repeat in my house’.

‘We were just talking about that!’ he replies, and then goes on to tell me about how they organised the chases, the crashes, the number of cars they used, how they shot certain scenes, what techniques they had to employ, what permission they did (and didn’t get). He was just so warm and giving… I was speechless.

One of my all time top directors, explaining to me the details and background to one of my all time favourite films.

Writing this up on my phone quickly, before the curtain raises, I’m dumbstruck and welling up with tears of happiness.

What an amazing moment and what an amazing guy.


EDIT: I’m home now and still in total and utter glee. Awesome things I learnt from John Landis this afternoon include:

  • The Nazi Car Drop – the only way Cook County would allow them to (actually) drop a car from 1400ft into the middle of the city was if Landis’ production team could provide proof (!!!) that it would hit the target they said it would. That meant driving out to a corn field, dropping three cars from a helicopter, filming the whole thing and then showing the tapes to the officials that look after the city and the air-space, as well as the police! ‘…they ah’d and umm’d about it a little bit, but hey we proved we could do it – so we did it!’ – JL
  • Against commonly-held opinion (and Wikipedia!) Blues Brothers did not hold the record for most cars destroyed in one film. That was an urban myth! Mr Landis told me the film that actually held that accolade was the original 1974 version of Gone in 60 Seconds‘…if car crashes are your thing, you’ll love it.’ – JL
  • The 60 or 70 cars they did have for the shoot were constantly kept in good shape by a 24hr auto-shop they built on the set. – ‘…Oh, we had another 20 cop cars but we weren’t allowed to crash those.’ – JL

And then he started talking about Batman… I actually died.

All of that in a five minute conversation. I could’ve stood and talked with him for hours.

I love you John Landis, you just made my year.

Superman IV – Nuclear Man I

No, not a goal line score from their last match up, more an amazing discovery of a whole bunch of cutting room floor footage from Superman IV.

You’ve all seen Superman IV right? If you haven’t you’re not missing out on much; I touched upon it recently as being ‘by far and away the worst of Reeve’s tenure‘ – and I stand by that (it’s still good though).

If you have seen it, then you’ll recognise the chap on the right above as Nuclear Man, the brawn created by Supes’ arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor.

However, on a recent journey around the more geekier corners of the internet, I happened upon an amazing nugget of footage that I never knew existed. Apparently, the Nuclear Man we know and love recognise is actually Nuclear Man V2. Version 1 was originally in the film too, and Superman (as you’ll see very shortly) disposed of him easily – hence Lex Luthor going back around a second time and coming up with v2.

Thing is, v1 was eventually cut (I can’ think why) and we only ever knew of v2.

What the HELL am I talking about?

Watch for yourself –

Just when you thought Superman IV couldn’t get any worse, right?
I’m just… lost for words.

Via iO9, with extra info (and lols) via i-mockery.



Kinect me up, baby

Recently, I decided to treat myself to the technological wonder that is the Xbox Kinect. But, before we crack on, let me make one thing absolutely clear –

The Xbox Kinect is, without doubt, the most exciting piece of technology I have ever brought into my house (by a clear country mile) and, quite possibly, the most amazing thing I have ever bought. Ever. Full stop.

It really is that good.

What’s worrying, however, is that for a short while I didn’t even realise it.

Xbox Kinect

Returning from my parents this past Christmas (I believe it was Dec 27th), I stopped off in town to pick up the Johnny-5 head-shaped bad boy and left him by the TV for a couple of days, before breaking it open just before New Year and cracking on.

“This’ll be fun” I thought “I’ll give it a whirl”

See, as you may know, I am a gaming geek (some would argue more so than a mobile geek), and so getting my hands on the latest awesome periphery for my current console of choice was fairly high up on my list of priorities.

“Gaming is going be awesome with this…”

Honestly? It’s been over a month now and I’ve hardly played the games at all. Don’t get me wrong, Kinect Adventures IS fun and I’m informed that the yet-to-be-opened Dance Central is pretty damn good also. However, the Kinect has changed something so significant, so utterly mind-blowing that most of the time, I switch it on just so I can play with IT.


It’s all about the interface. Things that live on my Xbox (aside from the games) include (but are not exclusive to) Last.fm, Sky TV, Twitter, Facebook and – thanks to a handy piece of software called Connect360 (no relation) – my entire music, photo and video collection that resides on my Mac.

[Nearly] everything is available to Kinect with… and it rocks.

Introducing such a fundamental step-change into the way I interact with my main media channel has, perhaps unsurprisingly to some, drastically shifted my usage patterns along with it. Last.fm, formally an Xbox Gold ‘nice to have’ extra that I only used on occasion is now the main reason for switching the Xbox on in the morning/afternoon/evening…

Forget the wavey-roundy, gesture sensitive motion capture stuff (although that’s quite cool also) the Kinect, for me at least, is all about the voice activation.

Let me show you:

I can be in the shower in the next room and be yelling out my instructions AND IT STILL HEARS ME! Music, is everything…

In the same way that nobody knew they needed an iPad (and yet now suddenly they now wonder how they ever did without them), the Xbox Kinect slips into your day to day life like the smoothest of gloves onto a well-worn hand. Within a couple of days you catch yourself wondering why on Earth everything in your household doesn’t run in the same way.

“Kettle? Boil.” or “Shower? On.” and of course, Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. are suddenly so desperately close to hand but also, in the same breath, achingly far away. The Xbox Kinect really is the technology of the future boys and girls and believe it when I tell you; we’ve not even scratched the surface.

Microsoft have already said that they expect to double the resolution of the on-board camera within the next 6-12mths and the face tracking technology they demo’d at CES recently was again, an equally fascinating glimpse into the very near future.

Maybe it’s the hours upon hours that we spent back in my SpinVox days talking about the future of speech technologies that has got me so excited about all this, maybe it’s because at heart, I’m a massive Star Trek fan and being able to talk to my computer is a pipe dream I’ve lusted after ever since I first saw Jean-Luc do the exact same thing all those years ago… or maybe, just maybe it’s just because that deep down, I am a geek – through and through – and I just love new technology.

In closing:

Got an Xbox? Get a Kinect. It’s that simple.

Living in the future

It was my birthday last weekend and, as quite possibly the best birthday present I’ve ever been given, my girlfriend sprung two tickets to Paris this weekend.

Doors - Kube Hotel

However, not content with taking me to the most romantic city in the world, seeing the sights, taking in the museums and generally doing ‘the tourist thing’ – my lady also decided to check us into the coolest hotel I have ever seen.

Don’t believe me?

The future is here. The future is now. The future is Omar Sharif.