Weekend update

Been a long while since I did one of these.

  • Udatta-da landed up in Hyderabad on Thursday and stayed over at my place Friday night, chilling out ( I think! ) to pseudo-Assamese food, BT’s This Binary Universe and Craig Thompson’s Blankets. Try and make it here a little more frequently, U.
  • Watched Sekhar Kammula’s Godavari on Sunday afternoon. I did not enjoy Anand, his earlier film all that much. It was pretty tackily editted ( Kammula himself admits that) and the storyline did not feel complete in some way. Godavari on the other hand is much more well-developed in terms of production values and scriptwriting. The cribs – a slightly zonked-out narrative towards the end, where the director ( who’s also the writer, btw ) while trying to have a proper ending to the story, introduces a lot of subplots and does not end up resolving them properly.
  • I also watched Mahesh Babu’s Atithi in the middle of the week. What a mess of a movie! It’s almost as if somebody made a parody of a Mahesh Babu film starring Mahesh Babu. Methinks the guy needs to rethink his image-oriented approach to his films, which even the director admits was part of his approach to making Atithi.
  • Played the first two chapters of this old, old, OLD game called The Longest Journey. Now while I suck at adventure games, I was eager to play this one because I had played the demo when in college. Repeated attempts to find this had resulted in failure, until The Serious One passed me a copy of his original box-set ( apparently, he had picked it up at a Rediff.com sale, of all places). Now the aforementioned copy had steadfastly refused to play when I did a full install, but this weekend, I tried a partial install and whaddyaknow, it worked! Really enjoyable game, this, and is more like reading a fantasy novel than playing a game. The only grouse I have ( and this is against all adventure games, in general) is, why the eff can’t I solve the puzzles? Gah!
  • Also finished the first volume of Spirou yesterday. Very very entertaining stuff. There are four stories in all in the first volume, each with a different bent. Starts off with ‘The Robot Blueprint’, which is standard fare, with Spirou and Fantasio pursuing and being pursued by a bunch of crooks who are after a blueprint of a deadly weapon developed by Professor Samovar. Some hilarious Herge-ian moments ensue in course of a car chase, where Spirou’s car runs into a bullock cart carrying a bale of hay. Just when I thought that the other stories would also be about capers and foil-a-wicked-plan-type story, there’s Spirou in the ring, where our intrepid hero has to tackle a boxing challenge from Big Bert, the neighbourhood bully. ( I found out that the names of the supporting characters have been changed in the translation. Poildur is the name of the bully in the French version.) ‘Spirou Rides a Horse’ is a short, howlarious story of, well, Spirou riding a spirited horse, one that takes lessons in jumping from a frog. The last of the lot ‘Spirou meets the Pygmies’ is much longer tale, that starts with a stray leopard taking up lodgings with our hero, which leads to a trip to the island of Rungapunga, a place where two pygmy tribes have a war going on. The resolution to this particular war is something that’s completely bowled me over! can’t wait to start on the Count of Cul-de-Sac, the next volume in the series.
  • A friend offered to sell me his copies of Jordi Bernet’s Torpedo reprints at cost price. Considering that Catalan Communications, the company that reprinted part of the Torpedo series is now bankrupt, with the books long out of print, this offer makes me want to do a war-dance. Woo hoo!
  • Once can hardly thank Moser-Baer enough for coming up with The Complete Mind Your Language and selling DVDs for 99 Rs each. Am glad I didn’t put in too much effort into buying MYL after the first set I got off National Market refused to work…


Thanks to my friend Pablo, I knew about this Belgian series called Spirou, which has been through multiple publishings and translations since its creation in 1938. In contrast to Tintin and Asterix ( which I mention because of the inherent familiarity folks have with them), Spirou has been written and drawn by multiple creators, from Jijé in its early years to Morvan and Munuera in 2004. I know only of the artist Pablo has been raving about – André Franquin, who developed the characters and the storylines and is considered the definitive Spirou artist.

And now, thanks to Eurobooks, which has already brought out the Agatha Christie and Biggles graphic novels and claim to be bringing out comic book versions of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, Spirou is available in India. And these are Franquin’s stories being published as oversized albums (the same format as Tintin and Asterix ) and are priced at 199 Rs each. I saw about twelve of them at Walden today. A quick flip-through reveals slightly sub-standard translation and lettering, the translators seem to have used a terrible typeface and I could see Americanisms abound in the dialog – but beggars can’t be choosers, I say. Am in cheapskate mode right now, otherwise would have bought the lot. Waiting for the next Bangalore trip where discounts will be negotiated and free book coupons put to good use.