our second annual mid-year Christmas dinner

Resplendent Turkey Steals The Show

Links Today we're a having our second annual mid-year Christmas dinner. Being British and without thanksgiving and with precisely no birthdays or anything else between Easter and September it seems we've decided to have a turkey dinner at the end of June, or as is the case this year, the end of July.

FACT Liverpool's Gallery Assistant Lesley on invigilating The Humble Market:
"Lying on a mound of astro-turf with four women I had never met before, I asked them about their lives, their religion, and their thoughts on death. Instead of muttering clich├ęs or flinching away from such unspoken topics, they opened up completely to one another, and to me. They spoke of the best years of their lives, their belief in God and their concept of the human soul, and I, in turn, told them of my unflinching atheism, and the surprising comfort which I find in my belief of the lack of an afterlife."

The Stage's Scott Matthewman explains the flaws in ITV's Superstar:
"With Superstar, it seems we’ve lost both experience and theatrical sparkle. True, Dawn French lightens the whole mood — although if it were a gay man making the sort of comments she gets away with, or a straight man judging young women, a lot of her humour would come across as just plain creepy (cf. Barry Humphries and the Nancys on I’d Do Anything). Melanie Chisholm started off as an astute observer in the pre-recorded opening stages, but her move into the live studio rounds has emasculated her — possibly because she’s realised she’ll be sharing a stage with whoever the public votes in. It’d be hard to lay into an actor’s performance one week, and then play Mary Magdelene to his Jesus the next."

In what sounds like a one-line joke from McSweeney's Terry Jones of Monty Python is creating an opera based on Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat:
"Jones's version of The Owl and the Pussycat takes us to the story's roots, when the psychic wounds were delivered that made the owl and the pussycat flee an unfeeling society into exile, to a land where – talons and claws crossed – they would not be judged for their taboo-breaking trans-species relationship. "What interested me was how they got together. There must have been some tension. So this is the prequel, and at the end of the opera they jump into the pea-green boat and set sail.""

Annie Hall's New York locations, then and now.  The Coney Island section is especially depressing:
"It really blows my mind that, over 12 years later, it’s still just a weed-strewn dirt lot. This was really better? At the very least, could we please erect another iconic roller coaster in its place, perhaps one with a little house underneath the tracks?"

The TARDIS Eruditorum reaches Press Gang.  Loads of things I didn't know:
"Press Gang, in 1989, was not part of Doctor Who's story. But in hindsight, in secret histories, it clearly was. Moffat has said that he didn't write for the classic series mostly because it went off the air more or less exactly as he was starting to inquire about it. Russell T. Davies apparently had a script rejected by Cartmel. In hindsight we know how closely related these two shows were even at the time. It is not that the future has created the significance of Press Gang. Rather, it is that the future serves as an archeology of history, excavating this fossil in the landscape, showing what the terrain of our 1989 really was."

The BBC's research and development blog explain how they've utilised back issues of the Radio Times to create a database of all their programmes. From the comments:
"I trust that the vinyl album being handled by Alex Mansfield was not in fact your sole copy. I would be very upset if he handled any of my vinyl collection in that manner.

Caterina Fake on FOMA, and affliction which lingers with me too:
"At SxSW I see people wondering if they’re at the wrong party—the party where they are is lame, feels uncool, has too much brand advertising or doesn’t have anyone there they’d want to hook up with—and so they move on to the next party where they have to wait in line too long, can’t get a beer, or don’t find their friends, and so move on to the next venue where…and so on."

Vintage Library Posters From the 1960s:
"Canada-based library technician Enokson has a great online collection of colorful vintage posters that promote the use of libraries and help kids maneuver their way around one. She found them while digging through the library and believes them to be from when the library opened in the 1960s. "

Sarah Goodyear on boxy architecture:
"The same can often be said for the store itself. The idea that something as huge as a Costco, say, or a Walmart, could disappear is laughable. But it does. Like enormous, sheepish monsters crouching in plain sight, these stores erase themselves from our perception even as we look at them. And they blot out huge swaths of space around them at the same time. Try to describe the features of the area immediately around the last big-box store you visited. Can’t remember what it looked like? Me neither. It’s hard to recall the individual nuances of a left-turn lane, or a shopping-cart corral."

Jason Alexander on gun control in the US:
"These weapons are military weapons. They belong in accountable hands, controlled hands and trained hands. They should not be in the hands of private citizens to be used against police, neighborhood intruders or people who don't agree with you. These are the weapons that maniacs acquire to wreak murder and mayhem on innocents. They are not the same as handguns to help homeowners protect themselves from intruders. They are not the same as hunting rifles or sporting rifles. These weapons are designed for harm and death on big scales. "

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