a curious addition to BBC Radio 4's programme database

Radio There's been a curious addition to BBC Radio 4's programme database.

During the broadcast period of the BBC Shakespeare series in the late 70s and early eighties, Radio 4 broadcast a series of "Prefaces to Shakespeare" in which well known actors, directors and writers offered introductions to plays.

If that sounds familiar, they were the inspiration for the recent television series, Shakespeare Uncovered, whose original title was to be Prefaces to Shakespeare (and still is on the Amazon listing).

The Hamlet edition of the original radio programme introduced by Derek Jacobi from May 1980 is available to stream at the BBC Archive.

Now, Prefaces to Shakespeare has been added to Radio 4's website, with episode pages added for three of the plays:

Henry V with Robert Hardy (originally broadcast Fri 21 Dec 1979)
King Lear with Tony Church (originally broadcast Sun 19 Sep 1982)
Richard III with Edward Woodward (originally broadcast Sat 22 Jan 1983)

The last one of which has a photograph. Originally I thought that perhaps it was to herald a broadcast on BBC 4 Extra, but there isn't any next on information and only the record of the first and only broadcast.

So either they are soon be broadcast again but the scheduling information hasn't been added yet (which can happen) or this is another occurrence of the BBC website's process of back-filling information from the BBC Genome project (see also the Doctor Who website).

Let's keep our eyes peeled ...

Shakespeare at the BBC: Prefaces to Shakespeare on Radio 4?

There's been a curious addition to BBC Radio 4's programme database.

During the broadcast period of the BBC Shakespeare series in the late 70s and early eighties, Radio 4 broadcast a series of "Prefaces to Shakespeare" in which well known actors, directors and writers offered introductions to plays.

If that sounds familiar, they were the inspiration for the recent television series, Shakespeare Uncovered, whose original title was to be Prefaces to Shakespeare (and still is on the Amazon listing).

The Hamlet edition of the original radio programme introduced by Derek Jacobi from May 1980 is available to stream at the BBC Archive.

Now, Prefaces to Shakespeare has been added to Radio 4's website, with episode pages added for three of the plays:

Henry V with Robert Hardy (originally broadcast Fri 21 Dec 1979)
King Lear with Tony Church (originally broadcast Sun 19 Sep 1982)
Richard III with Edward Woodward (originally broadcast Sat 22 Jan 1983)

The last one of which has a photograph. Originally I thought that perhaps it was to herald a broadcast on BBC 4 Extra, but there isn't any next on information and only the record of the first and only broadcast.

So either they are soon be broadcast again but the scheduling information hasn't been added yet (which can happen) or this is another occurrence of the BBC website's process of back-filling information from the BBC Genome project (see also the Doctor Who website).

Let's keep our eyes or rather ears peeled ...

02/09/2012  Something definitely is happening.  A 1998/99 series, The Shakespeare Trade has also been added and the Prefaces about Richard III has been assigned a QR code.

Shakespeare at the BBC: Vivat Rex: At a Glance.

Shakespeare Yesterday I completed listening to Vivat Rex and its one of the best drama experiences I've had.  Coincidentally this morning in the post I received the accompanying booklet published in the seventies which has a nice introductions from producer Marin Jenkins and composer Christopher Whelan, a map with notable places, a useful family tree and a synopsis for each of the episodes.

What it doesn't have is a simple list of which plays constitute which episodes so I've produced that list below.

Why is this useful?

The whole of Vivat Rex is available to download on AudioGo at £1.84 an episode.  To buy the whole lot would be £47.84 which is still a bargain but you could understand if someone might want to pick and choose individual plays, especially since as I mentioned the other day, Vivat Rex includes rare dramatisations of Edward IIEdward III, Thomas of Woodstock and Perkin Warbeck albeit in abbreviated versions.

Vivat Rex: At a Glance.

1/26 The King's Favourite
Edward II

2/26 Revenge
Edward II

3/26 Obsession
Edward II / Edward III

4/26 The Black Prince
Edward III / Woodstock

5/26 Treason
Woodstock / Richard II

6/26 King of Snow
Richard II

7/26 Victims
Richard II / Famous Victories of Henry V / Henry IV, pt 1

8/26 Vulgar Company
Henry IV, pt 1

9/26 Rebellion
Henry IV, pt 1 / Henry IV, pt 2

10/26 Corruption
Henry IV, pt 2

11/26 Deception
Henry IV, pt 2

12/26 Tennis Balls
Henry IV, pt 2 / Henry V

13/26 Harfleur
Henry V

14/26 St. Crispin's Day
Henry V

15/26 Joan of Arc
Henry V / Henry VI, pt 1

16/26 The White Rose - And The Red
Henry VI, pt 1

17/26 Witchcraft
Henry VI, pt 1 / Henry VI, pt 2

18/26 Jack Cade
Henry VI, pt 2

19/26 The Paper Crown
Henry VI, pt 2 / Henry VI, pt 3

20/26 Warwick The Kingmaker
Henry VI, pt 3

21/26 The Tower
Henry VI, pt 3 / Richard III

22/26 The Little Princes
Richard III

23/26 Ghosts
Richard III / Perkin Warbeck

24/26 The Pretender
Perkin Warbeck

25/26 Divorce
Henry VIII

26/26 Elizabeth
Henry VIII

Some notes:

The Edward III, Woodstock and Perkin Warbeck are heavily truncated and edited for the elements which reflect most on the Shakespeare/Marlowe portions of the piece.  That said, the Henry VIII though also shorter is coherent in and of itself.  The Famous Victories of Henry V contributes is just one scene.

The episodes are available here.

The above information is on the individual programme pages but I still hope you'll find this at a glance version useful.

Shakespeare at the BBC: Vivat Rex: At a Glance.

Yesterday I completed listening to Vivat Rex and its one of the best drama experiences I've had.  Coincidentally this morning in the post I received the accompanying booklet published in the seventies which has a nice introductions from producer Marin Jenkins and composer Christopher Whelan, a map with notable places, a useful family tree and a synopsis for each of the episodes.

What it doesn't have is a simple list of which plays constitute which episodes so I've produced that list below.

Why is this useful?

The whole of Vivat Rex is available to download on AudioGo at £1.84 an episode.  To buy the whole lot would be £47.84 which is still a bargain but you could understand if someone might want to pick and choose individual plays, especially since as I mentioned the other day, Vivat Rex includes rare dramatisations of Edward IIEdward III, Thomas of Woodstock and Perkin Warbeck albeit in abbreviated versions.

Vivat Rex: At a Glance.

1/26 The King's Favourite
Edward II

2/26 Revenge
Edward II

3/26 Obsession
Edward II / Edward III

4/26 The Black Prince
Edward III / Woodstock

5/26 Treason
Woodstock / Richard II

6/26 King of Snow
Richard II

7/26 Victims
Richard II / Famous Victories of Henry V / Henry IV, pt 1

8/26 Vulgar Company
Henry IV, pt 1

9/26 Rebellion
Henry IV, pt 1 / Henry IV, pt 2

10/26 Corruption
Henry IV, pt 2

11/26 Deception
Henry IV, pt 2

12/26 Tennis Balls
Henry IV, pt 2 / Henry V

13/26 Harfleur
Henry V

14/26 St. Crispin's Day
Henry V

15/26 Joan of Arc
Henry V / Henry VI, pt 1

16/26 The White Rose - And The Red
Henry VI, pt 1

17/26 Witchcraft
Henry VI, pt 1 / Henry VI, pt 2

18/26 Jack Cade
Henry VI, pt 2

19/26 The Paper Crown
Henry VI, pt 2 / Henry VI, pt 3

20/26 Warwick The Kingmaker
Henry VI, pt 3

21/26 The Tower
Henry VI, pt 3 / Richard III

22/26 The Little Princes
Richard III

23/26 Ghosts
Richard III / Perkin Warbeck

24/26 The Pretender
Perkin Warbeck

25/26 Divorce
Henry VIII

26/26 Elizabeth
Henry VIII

Some notes:

The Edward III, Woodstock and Perkin Warbeck are heavily truncated and edited for the elements which reflect most on the Shakespeare/Marlowe portions of the piece.  That said, the Henry VIII though also shorter is coherent in and of itself.  The Famous Victories of Henry V contributes is just one scene.

The episodes are available here.

The above information is on the individual programme pages but I still hope you'll find this at a glance version.

or The Avengers if you're outside the UK

Film Here's some somewhat inevitable comments on the ongoing situation in regards to the home release of Joss Whedon's Avengers Assemble (or The Avengers if you're outside the UK).  Or ten minutes of head-shaking converted into a few paragraphs of text.  These are the facts:

For the past ten years I haven't been buying any of Marvel's superb superhero films in a home format on the assumption that once the Avengers film came out there would be a box set.  This was a shaky assertion since some of the films were distributed by Paramount, one by Universal and the rest by Disney who now own Marvel.

But sure enough a box set is going to available from Amazon and I managed to pre-order it at a price cheap than it is now.  Yeh me.  It's not quite as busy as the US version which has TEN discs instead of SIX with extra copies in threed and a bonus disc of extras which is probably what's already available in one handy place but it is all the films on blu-ray for a cheaper price than they would have been.

But a glance at the Amazon UK listing shows a lack of director's commentary on Avengers Assemble (or The Avengers if you're outside the UK) when the US version most certainly does.  With an added comment about the entertainingly specific section on Amazon US's listing which describes what's on which version like the sites been taken over by DVD Beaver.  Bitrate graphs will surely be added soon.

Cue recent interest at Whedoneque in which it became apparent that Tesco.com does have a commentary listed and that it may be an exclusive.  I'm sorry, wait what?  Also that Sainsburys has no commentary but an exclusive 90 minute documentary and Asda neither of those but a comic, sorry "graphic novel".

In other words, the US edition has been filleted and the extras spread across a group of retailers.  Poorer fans will actually have to make a choice as to which of the extras they'd prefer when US fans will be getting them anyway and rich fans will have to fork out for multiple versions to get everything.

With the box set in an uncertain position.

Interestingly SFX's written a much longer blog post on the subject and they don't know.  Which is odd because you'd think they'd be able to contact Disney's press office and ask.  The BBFC hasn't rated a commentary either which makes you wonder if Tesco might have an erroneous listing anyway.

How did we come to this?  Does Joss know?  Joss?

Artifacts: Vivat Rex booklet

"Like, where’s your modesty?"

Links  I've reached episode twenty of Vivat Rex which begins about half way through Henry VI.3 which isn't bad for three days work but it's fair to say that a certain amount of listener's mission creep has set in thanks to the messy, repetitive drama of this later material (too many proto-Richard III's before the actual Richard III) which despite the producer's best efforts doesn't lend itself to audio.  It'll be interesting to see how The Hollow Crown deals with it as and when and who they'll cast as Joan of Arc.  Marion Cotillard's presumably too expensive.

Miss America, or rather Lis on constructive criticism:
"There are people out there who seem confident ALL. THE. TIME.  You try to give them a compliment about something, and they give you a mindless shrug as if to say, ‘I know.’  And you’re left standing there thinking, ‘What a dick.’  Confidence comes across as arrogance, and then we dislike them for it.  Plus then, I don’t know about you, but I tend not to pay a compliment again.  Like, where’s your modesty?  Where’s the ‘Thank you’?  Gah, ya dick."

Shakespeare Bits Back is a pleasingly grump e-Pamphlet from Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells on the topic of authorship:
"Anti-Shakespearians we have met seem to be singularly lacking in a sense of humour, at least as soon as they start riding their hobby-horses. They hardly smile, perhaps a characteristic of an obsessive mind. Dare to suggest that snobbery is a hidden agenda of the anti-Shakespearian movement (in its general propensity to offer aristocratic or university educated nominees) and you stand the risk of having your head bitten off, or being made to feel you have caused offence."

New radio discovery.  WRN broadcasts on FreeSat channel 728 (and is probably available on Sky) and curates news services around the world.
This is still me talking because I couldn't find a decent explanatory bit of text.  I turned over this morning in the middle of NPR's All Things Considered and after glancing at the schedule found what amounted to a reverse version of the BBC World Service, broadcasting back at us the likes of UN Radio, Radio Australia and RTE Ireland in bursts of fifteen minutes to two hours, sometimes a whole programme, sometimes representative samples.  Radio Prague earlier had a five minute slot teaching the Czech language.

Tea Lady Designs.
Me again.  This is the Facebook page for the company currently producing all the covers for the BBC's Doctor Who merchandise, the novels and dvds in particular, posting clean version without the logos and whatnot.  Here's some of the official BBC artwork for next year.  Weird seeing the Pertwee logo from the TV Movie associated with the nuWho Doctors.

Audio Early Modern Drama: A Proposal.

Audio As you know, with some time to spare I'm spending this week listening to Vivat Rex, the twenty-six part BBC Radio series which utilises a range of Early Modern plays, mostly from Shakespeare to offer a chronicle of the English crown from 1307 to 1533, from Edward II to Elizabeth I.

One of its great joys, other than the rather epic cast list, is that it includes within its make up sections of Edward III, Thomas of Woodstock, The Famous Victories of Henry V and John Ford's Perkin Warbeck in what may be their only radio outings, providing useful context to the action within Shakespeare's more famous plays.

Finally we can understand Henry IV's fear that his son Hal, by loafing around with Falstaff is repeating the mistakes of his predecessors Edward II and Richard II (albeit without the homo-erotic subtext of their acolytes) and that Richard's "hollow crown" speech is a near synopsis of the action in Edward III, including the appearance of a "ghost".

Listening to these rarities reminded of a proposal I wrote a few months ago suggesting that an audio or radio company produce a line of full text adaptations of just these kinds of rarely produced early modern dramas so that an interested public might be able to experience the work which was around at the time Shakespeare wrote the dozen or so plays which are constant production.

Disclosure: I did sent a version of this to a company but it wasn't something they were really interested in doing which was understandable since its not necessarily a sure fire winner and would need to be planned and executed careful if it's to work as a business proposition.  I wouldn't know where to begin myself even.  It probably needs an existing production infrastructure and some hope.

I know that some people aren't fans of audio but it offers two benefits.  Firstly it's relatively cheap in comparison to video at least in production terms and from an artistic perspective since this would potentially be the only copy of the play available, the idea would be to follow ArkAngel's lead and produce something which emphasises the text.

Anyway, on with the proposal:

Audio Early Modern Drama: A Proposal.

Pitch

Lesser known plays by William Shakespeare and his contemporaries as audio productions.

Introduction

William Shakespeare is back in focus this year thanks to the Cultural Olympiad with a season of programmes on the BBC and the World Shakespeare Festival across a number of venues. But he’s largely receiving the lone genius treatment even though he was influenced by earlier playwrights, was part of a thriving theatre community collaborating with others and would go on to influence writers within just a few years.

Writers like John Fletcher, Francis Beaumont, Thomas Middleton, Philip Massinger, John Ford, John Webster and George Chapman were once household names, some of them collaborating with Shakespeare and succeeding him during his retirement and although some of their work is produced its not in the same bulk as Shakespeare and treated as something of a novelty by comparison.

Except that’s also true of some of Shakespeare’s own plays too especially in the late period, which ran rather further than the conclusion of The Tempest suggests. Collaborations which thanks to the latest techniques are becoming considered part of the canon, Sir Thomas More, Edward III, Arden of Faversham and Double Falsehood (or Cardenio) are again not accessibly available to watch or listen to outside of the theatre despite their high curiosity factor.

All which became abundantly clear last year when I was reviewing Arden Shakespeare’s own Early Modern Drama series and found myself unable to source recordings of these plays so that I could experience them in performance rather than simply as scripts. All are filled with extraordinary poetry but none of them can truly be understood or enjoyed without an actor’s intent behind the words and a directorial thought process interpreting the story and themes, especially by laypeople like me.

Proposal

That these plays be turned into audios on cd or for download, bringing together actors with the high production values.  Advertised correctly these should draw a curious general audience, one which is already eagerly seeking out what material is available in their local theatre. But of course there would be students and academics wanting to access high quality recordings of these plays especially those for which there is either only a single option or none at all.

Logistics

The scripts are obviously already written. Editorial choices would be in which texts to produce and preparing those scripts. I’m obviously unaware of budgets, but a writer’s fee (since these are four hundred year old plays) could be ploughed into the cost of the pre-recording rehearsal time which must be required

The texts could be those already in circulation through academic publishers, a collaboration which could go as far as branding the releases to tie-in with the books already available allowing for cross promotion, perhaps even utilising the same artwork:


With the plays also being sold through their website and through the audio producers, perhaps even as a set containing cd/download and book.

The trick would be to produce the Shakespearean curiosities along with the other work. An experimental series of four or six to test the market and then on from there. A Shakespeare collaboration, a Marlowe, a Beaumont and Fletcher, perhaps a Webster. A tie-in with Arden for example, would mean these choices are already made.

Competition

Of the complete or near-complete Shakespeare works available only the ArkAngel production of The Two Noble Kinsman is already available, but the others listed above are under produced. Of the others, even the better known playwrights, Kit Marlowe or Ben Jonson’s greatest plays, some of them on school curriculums, have no unabridged audio productions available.

There are amateur crowd-sourced productions online if you know where to look, but not professional and not consistent. Shakespeare’s Globe has monthly series of this material called “Read or Dead” but as yet none of it is available outside their library’s archive. Modern productions of this material even on BBC radio is rare (most often the Drama on 3 slot of the kind already downloadable) and usually heavily abridged.

Conclusion

This could become a very exciting series for whichever company accepts the challenge, taking their work into new markets and creating a legacy of material which could have commercial potential for years to come.

Audio Early Modern Drama: A Proposal.

With some time to spare I'm spending this week listening to Vivat Rex, the twenty-six part BBC Radio series which utilises a range of Early Modern plays, mostly from Shakespeare to offer a chronicle of the English crown from 1307 to 1533, from Edward II to Elizabeth I.

One of its great joys, other than the rather epic cast list, is that it includes within its make up sections of Edward III, Thomas of Woodstock, The Famous Victories of Henry V and John Ford's Perkin Warbeck in what may be their only radio outings, providing useful context to the action within Shakespeare's more famous plays.

Finally we can understand Henry IV's fear that his son Hal, by loafing around with Falstaff is repeating the mistakes of his predecessors Edward II and Richard II (albeit without the homo-erotic subtext of their acolytes) and that Richard's "hollow crown" speech is a near synopsis of the action in Edward III, including the appearance of a "ghost".

Listening to these rarities reminded of a proposal I wrote a few months ago suggesting that an audio or radio company produce a line of full text adaptations of just these kinds of rarely produced early modern dramas so that an interested public might be able to experience the work which was around at the time Shakespeare wrote the dozen or so plays which are constant production.

Disclosure: I did send a version of this to a company but it wasn't something they were really interested in doing which was understandable since its not necessarily a sure fire winner and would need to be planned and executed careful if it's to work as a business proposition.  I wouldn't know where to begin myself even.  It probably needs an existing production infrastructure and some hope.

I know that some people aren't fans of audio but it offers two benefits.  Firstly it's relatively cheap in comparison to video at least in production terms and from an artistic perspective since this would potentially be the only copy of the play available, the idea would be to follow ArkAngel's lead and produce something which emphasises the text.

Anyway, on with the proposal:

Audio Early Modern Drama: A Proposal.

Pitch

Lesser known plays by William Shakespeare and his contemporaries as audio productions.

Introduction

William Shakespeare is back in focus this year thanks to the Cultural Olympiad with a season of programmes on the BBC and the World Shakespeare Festival across a number of venues. But he’s largely receiving the lone genius treatment even though he was influenced by earlier playwrights, was part of a thriving theatre community collaborating with others and would go on to influence writers within just a few years.

Writers like John Fletcher, Francis Beaumont, Thomas Middleton, Philip Massinger, John Ford, John Webster and George Chapman were once household names, some of them collaborating with Shakespeare and succeeding him during his retirement and although some of their work is produced its not in the same bulk as Shakespeare and treated as something of a novelty by comparison.

Except that’s also true of some of Shakespeare’s own plays too especially in the late period, which ran rather further than the conclusion of The Tempest suggests. Collaborations which thanks to the latest techniques are becoming considered part of the canon, Sir Thomas More, Edward III, Arden of Faversham and Double Falsehood (or Cardenio) are again not accessibly available to watch or listen to outside of the theatre despite their high curiosity factor.

All which became abundantly clear last year when I was reviewing Arden Shakespeare’s own Early Modern Drama series and found myself unable to source recordings of these plays so that I could experience them in performance rather than simply as scripts. All are filled with extraordinary poetry but none of them can truly be understood or enjoyed without an actor’s intent behind the words and a directorial thought process interpreting the story and themes, especially by laypeople like me.

Proposal

That these plays be turned into audios on cd or for download, bringing together actors with the high production values.  Advertised correctly these should draw a curious general audience, one which is already eagerly seeking out what material is available in their local theatre. But of course there would be students and academics wanting to access high quality recordings of these plays especially those for which there is either only a single option or none at all.

Logistics

The scripts are obviously already written. Editorial choices would be in which texts to produce and preparing those scripts. I’m obviously unaware of budgets, but a writer’s fee (since these are four hundred year old plays) could be ploughed into the cost of the pre-recording rehearsal time which must be required

The texts could be those already in circulation through academic publishers, a collaboration which could go as far as branding the releases to tie-in with the books already available allowing for cross promotion, perhaps even utilising the same artwork:


With the plays also being sold through their website and through the audio producers, perhaps even as a set containing cd/download and book.

The trick would be to produce the Shakespearean curiosities along with the other work. An experimental series of four or six to test the market and then on from there. A Shakespeare collaboration, a Marlowe, a Beaumont and Fletcher, perhaps a Webster. A tie-in with Arden for example, would mean these choices are already made.

Competition

Of the complete or near-complete Shakespeare works available only the ArkAngel production of The Two Noble Kinsman is already available, but the others listed above are under produced. Of the others, even the better known playwrights, Kit Marlowe or Ben Jonson’s greatest plays, some of them on school curriculums, have no unabridged audio productions available.

There are amateur crowd-sourced productions online if you know where to look, but not professional and not consistent. Shakespeare’s Globe has monthly series of this material called “Read or Dead” but as yet none of it is available outside their library’s archive. Modern productions of this material even on BBC radio is rare (most often the Drama on 3 slot of the kind already downloadable) and usually heavily abridged.

Conclusion

This could become a very exciting series for whichever company accepts the challenge, taking their work into new markets and creating a legacy of material which could have commercial potential for years to come.

“I want a book on…”

Links Since I'm enjoying another of these weeks (and as this the case this time, the twenty-six episodes of Vivat Rex and Stanley Wells's book Shakespeare & Co), expect a couple more lazy posts like this one. I have, however taken time to change the logo bar for something Tony Scott themed, from True Romance.  His recent Unstoppable was underrated by the way.  Made a change to have a story which was just about people doing their job to the best of their ability in order to save the day with only the silly upper management to fight against rather than terrorists or some such.

British Library to publish Arthur Conan Doyle’s previously unseen Arctic diary
"Dangerous Work comprises a full colour facsimile of this remarkable diary, showing Conan Doyle’s clear handwriting and pen-and-ink sketches of life on the Arctic sea, as well as a complete and annotated transcript of the diary and several non-fiction and fiction pieces based on the experience. These include the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Black Peter; a ghost story set in the Arctic, The Captain of the Pole-Star, which got him noticed in publishing circles as a promising young writer; and a magazine article called ‘The Glamour of the Arctic’ which won him the respect of intrepid Arctic explorers."

Doctor Who Magazine writer Benjamin Cook now has a fan tumblr.
Feels like time has robbed Jeremy Bentham and fair few other writers a similar accolade.

A Professional Assessment of My Little Pony's Twilight Sparkle as a Librarian.
"We see this unwelcoming tone again when Rarity comes to the library, ostensibly asking for a book on historical fashion. Twilight gives her a book, saying “Start with this one,” and then walks away. There are no clarifying questions. Is Rarity looking for a book about historical fashion or an information source, regardless of medium? As a working reference librarian, I can attest that when a patron says “I want a book on…” that patron usually (but not always!) means “I want information about…” and is not concerned about the medium. Twilight ignores this issue and levitates a book over to Rarity."

Jim Emmerson explains his love of Vertigo through its use of colour.
"At Ernie's restaurant, a blood-red San Francisco institution (womb-like -- a place in which a bloody romantic obsession is born), Madeleine appears, walking through a doorway in a deep-green stole and pauses in profile like a mysterious sculpture that Hitchcock scholar Fran├žois Truffaut reprised four years later, immortalizing the beauty of Jeanne Moreau's Catherine in his film "Jules and Jim." (It is interesting to note that Madeleine often appears through a doorway -- indicating that there's something behind her, in her past, that is only partially visible to us, and to Scottie.) She exits the scene in mirror images -- because, of course, there's not just one "Madeleine," but two."

"the first steel-framed skyscraper"

Links Watched Citizen Kane again tonight.  It is still the greatest film ever made.  The Sight & Sound vote is an aberration and hopefully it'll be back at the top where it belongs in 2022.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a tumblr exposing images from its photography archive, along with explanatory commentary.
"This unusual spiral staircase served the Carnegie Building, the headquarters of the Carnegie Steel Co. When completed in 1895, the Carnegie Building was the tallest office building in Pittsburgh, standing at 13 stories or about 200 feet. It was the first steel-framed skyscraper constructed in the city. The building, which had been located at 428 Fifth Ave., was demolished in 1952 — the year this photograph was taken — to allow for the expansion of what today is the Downtown Macy’s store."

Robin Brown on the day he abseiled down Liverpool Cathedral.
"As I wait to go out onto the roof I peer over the side at what is the top side of the West Doors’ vaulted arch that houses the western entrance. It’s maybe 20 foot form the gantry I’m standing on to the floor, but in my heightened sensitivity to the perceived dangers all around me this relatively short height is worrying. I’m also pondering whether I would go through the top and continue my freefall in a rather less elegant way, should the gantry give way."

To celebrate Robert Moog's birthday earlier in the year, Google created this interactive doodle.
"When people hear the word “synthesizer” they often think “synthetic”—fake, manufactured, unnatural. In contrast, Bob Moog’s synthesizers produce beautiful, organic and rich sounds that are, nearly 50 years later, regarded by many professional musicians as the epitome of an electronic instrument. “Synthesizer,” it turns out, refers to the synthesis embedded in Moog’s instruments: a network of electronic components working together to create a whole greater than the sum of the parts."

The Guardian interviews Alanis Morissette.  She has a new album out soon.
"When someone says that I'm angry it's actually a compliment. I have not always been direct with my anger in my relationships, which is part of why I'd write about it in my songs because I had such fear around expressing anger as a woman. I thought I would be retaliated against or physically hit or vilified. Anger has been a really big deal for women: how can we express it without feeling that, as the physically weaker sex, we won't get killed. The alpha-woman was burned at the stake and had her head chopped off in days of old."