Catch 22 novelist Joseph Heller, apart from doing an uncredited re-write on James Bond spoof Casino Royale in 1967 (but who didn't), wrote an episode of the sitcom McHale's Navy. Weird. [Thanks Keith!]
Not another flower bed Originally uploaded by feelinglistless. I'm sorry if this is getting tiresome, but I feel a fair and frank representation of this character's exploits is important. But while I'm here -- haven't fashions changed for the better. Thank god for Harvey Nichols.
When Weta Digital, the special effects house who worked on Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings were putting together the fight sequences for the Helms Deep sequence of The Two Towers using a system called Massive to simulate the fight sequences, they inadvertantly created far too few human characters to orcs. They were amazed to find as they watched the sequence being generated that when the little fake humans reached the little fake orcs and the monsters turned to attack, the solidiers were taken by surprised and ran away in great numbers with only a few standing their ground. Luckily they appear to be a bit braver in the finished film.
When the concert Nelson Mandela -- An International Tribute for a Free South Africa appeared on BBC Radio One, a memo was passed around to the team broadcasting the event that on-air it should be refered to under a series of names such as 'a tribute to Nelson Mandela', 'the Nelson Mandela concert' and 'a musical celebration for Nelson Mandela' so that there wouldn't be any confusion between some political message and what was a rock festival. They were also banned from mention how long Mandela had been in prison for, that he was free and what that meant for the new South Africa.
Life In two weeks it will be Christmas Eve. Where did the time go to? Unlike last year when everything was terribly last minute, I'm pretty much prepared. Only a couple of presents to buy and I know what they are. With all of that said, why can't I be as organised with the rest of my life? Why do I have so many newspapers lying about waiting to be collected together and taken for recycling. How come no matter how many time I tidy the place it always looks untidy? And what about the piles of unwatched videotapes without anything written on spine? I heard on the radio this morning that in Fallujah there aren't telephones, the electricity is out and there is raw sewage in the streets. Which does rather put things into perspective. Oh well. Best get myself sorted out.
Liverpool displays classic book "Librarians used £168 of that cash to buy from a London book dealer a copy of the four-volume Birds Of America by John James Audubon, often hailed as one of the most beautiful books ever printed. Liverpool's set is now estimated to be worth £5m."
In Steven Spielberg's film Close Encounters of the Third Kind renowned French New Wave film director Francois Truffaut plays a scientist who believes in UFO phenomina and Bob Balaban is his interpretor. It all seems very convincing, but in fact Truffaut himself had a very limited grasp of English and had his own real life interpretor with him through the rehearsal process. Before his audition Balaban knew hardly any French but got the job because Spielberg thought he sounded convincing enough. After that he took some refresher lessons which is why he sounds so convincing in the film.
Life I'm wired on caffeine. Isn't it funny how your keyboarding skills diminish when you feel like you have many things to write about? This evening, in a mood of desperation I went on a coffee shop hop trying to get away from anything work and home related so that I could get some reading done. I've had a book about Francois Truffaut on loan from the library for weeks and I wanted to make some headway. I ended up working my way through about six coffee places in about four hours which even allowing for eating in two of them is a crazy pace I won't be repeating in a hurry. I've learnt two things. That different cafe/bar owners have vastly different ideas of how much black coffee you can serve for a price. In some places, £1.20 will buy you a vat, in others £1.80 leaves your pocket for what amount to a thimble -- and that's not even an espresso.
I didn't get the book read. It ended up being dryer than I was expecting -- film theory rather than a making of, which is fine, but in Truffaut's movies everything tends to be self evident. Which is probably why in the third coffee place I got out my notebook and started to write. Long term readers or people who've met me will know that I've had an idea for a television script buzzing about for over five years. At times there have been drafts but as full time work started to grip, I put it on the back burner in favour of the medium your reading these words on now. Every now and then I'll get a moment of inspiration, but not enough to get anything down. Tonight I managed to dash down three scenes and have a clearer idea of how it should proceed. Much like my madness of last night I don't know where they came from, and it's made me want to have a go at completing at least a new first draft. So if I'm not post here or at heardsaid, you'll know what I'm doing. What's it about? That would be telling...
Surprise Rocks Disney Trial Further proof that Woody Allen is back on form with this rip-rouring satire on what might have happened at an Ovitz trial if the animated fraternity were called to bare witness.
Film of the Day: I'm With Lucy  Upcoming dvd release of the Monica Potter film I saw in Paris -- in 2002. Don't let the Craig Bierko credit frighten you -- John Hannah, David Boreanaz and Elliot from ET also feature in a really great little comedy.
That was then, this is now Whatever happened to the people behind the Millenium Dome, and why did it have the perception of failure?
Natalie Portman: Acting her age Another wierd interview from The Daily Telegraph. Why does the paper continually have to be so condescending about it's subjects?
The following is so astonishing I'm going to quote it verbatum:
"On an April day in 1746 at the grand convent of the Carthusians in Paris, about 200 monks arranged themselves in a long, snaking line. Each monk held one end of a 25-foot iron wire in each hand, connecting him to his neighbour on either side. Together, the monks and their connecting wires formed a line over a mile long.
Once the line was complete, the Abbe Jean-Antoine Nollet, a noted French scientist, took a primitive electrical battery and, without warning, connected it to the line of monks - giving all of them a powerful electric shock. Nollet did not go around zapping monks with static electricity for fun; his experiment had a serious scientific objective. Like many scientists of the time, he was measuring the properties of electricity to find out how far it could be transmitted along wires, and how fast it travelled. The simultaneous exclamations and contortions of a mile-long line of monks revealed that electricity could be transmitted over a great distance; and as far as Nollet could tell, it covered that distance instantly.
This was a big deal.
It suggested that, in theory, it ought to be possible to harness electricity to build a signalling device capable of sending messages over great distances incomparably faster than a human messenger could carry them."
This is from The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage, a remarkable and often brilliant examination of the telegraph service suggesting all of its similarities with the modern world wide web. It's also a perfect demonstration that the medium we're all using to communicate may yet be superceded.
The Buses I'd left work and made the usual five minute dash to the bus stop on the other end of town so that can get home at a reasonable hour (if I go to the stop near work I then have to sit as it crawls through traffic -- by going this way I'm essentially heading it off at the pass). Sure enough when I get there, the bus is already there and I start to queue up behind about four other people. I glance across at the bus and it's basically empty, a few empty seats here and there. But people are standing at the entrance to the bus and a but up the isle, there is a gap then some more people bunched up at the back.
I get that relieved feeling that I've having killed myself getting there for no reason. Then I hear someone say:
'He's not letting any more on.'
My work addled brain snaps to attention as I hear the driver say:
'No more room.'
Now somewhere within me something breaks. I don't know if it was the adrenalin from the run, the wierd disappointment you get when this happens or the fact that I'm sick to death of buses in Liverpool, but I pushed forward and stepped onto the bus anyway.
'Hold on a minute.'
'No more room.'
I glance up the bus. It's not empty, but there still enough places for the three or four people who were standing there.
'But there is room.' I say. 'It just needs for some people to move up.'
He looks up the bus and shakes his head. I start to gesture madly -
'Look - there's a gap halfway up the isle. With the greatest respect it just needs for them to move up and we can all get on.' Or words to that effect. To be honest, much of what happened is a blare. What I do know is that I was strong and firm, but I didn't swear. I'm proud of that at least.
'With the greatest respect', the driver says turning my words back at me. 'I don't even have to let people stand if I don't want to.'
I looked at the passengers. A couple had obviously been listening and moved up a bit finally. But most of them were looking at me. I could tell what they were thinking, because I probably would have been thinking the same thing.
'What's your problem? It's only a bus. There'll be another one along in a minute.'
I turned to view people at the bus stop. The queue I was defending had dissipated and everyone else had that same thought.
'What's your problem? It's only a bus. There'll be another one along in a minute.'
In my Fawlty-like haze I now felt like I needed to justify myself.
'All I'm saying is that if people moved down the bus there would be plenty of room for the three of us who were standing here to get on.'
'And the bus is still full.' He said with the kind of cheese-eating grin of someone who has the upper hand.
'Right.' I said. 'I want your number. What's your number.' By now I have branch of the tree and I'm hitting it all over the car. I repeated the number.
I got off the bus.
'Make sure you've got the right time.' He said sarcastically. 'Five-past-five.'
'RIGHT!' I said as he closed the door and drove away.
The people at the stop are still glancing over at me. I turn to someone nearby -- who had been in the queue I was trying to defend.
'I've never kicked off like that before.' I say. She didn't register. I'm not sure she believed me.
But really were does this come from? This was bus rage. A full blown roar which seemed to appear from nowhere and got me well, nowhere. It's not in my nature really and I'm surprised I had the capacity. But given how poor the bus service tends to be in the evenings, to night after night see half empty buses driving past stops full of people waiting to go home, either because the driver is running late or he doesn't like the look of the people standing there, tends to bring out the moral crusader in you. What amazes me is that it doesn't happen more often -- that other people don't stand their ground. I'd watched a similar things happen before and I think part of me just thought - not me, not this time. I know it was silly, illogical and I made a performance of myself, and given that I couldn't really see who was on that bus for the red mist in my eyes probably ruined my reputation with somebody. And minutes afterwards I was all calmed down and trying to ring the bus company to turn the other cheek and apologise even though I'm not sure was in the wrong (didn't get through). And I realise that the reason no one else said anything but just generally looked stunned is for the reasons I outlined above: 'What's your problem? It's only a bus. There'll be another one along in a minute.' And there was. And it was packed out. But I still managed to get on it. I hope everyone is allowed one of these lapses once in their lives. [Insert cheesy Hollywood speech ending].