Journalism(ish) I usually skip over the columnists in 'The Guardian' -- I prefer my fellow amateurs, but something in Simon Hoggart's piece today caught my eye -- genuine announcements on the London Underground: "Ladies and gentlemen, upon departing the train may I remind you to take your rubbish with you. Despite the fact that you are in something that is metal, fairly round, filthy and smells, this is a tube train and not a bin on wheels."
Umm... Huh, huh ... see if you can spot the deliberate mistake in the presentation of this somewhat previous but affectionate interview with Douglas Adams ... how dare they ...
Gallery space First there was an exhibition which consisted of only empty walls and floors. Now there's a whole museum and I'd forgotten about it until now. You'll see why when you see the date it was opened: "In an unprecedented happening, more than 300,000 visitors went to see a totally empty museum. During the 18 months between completion of the structure and its official opening, the edifice itself became an attraction in a city bursting with building fever. The new Jewish Museum in Berlin, a striking deconstructivist structure by architect Daniel Libeskind, is clad chiefly with titanium-covered zinc — a durable, stable, and malleable metal that reflects the light. The museum rises from a base whose line is frequently broken and unwinds in zigzag fashion."
Theatre Shakespeare didn't write any of his plays as we see them now. This isn't as controversial a statement as it might at first seem. When we go to the theatre now to see 'Romeo & Juliet' or 'Hamlet' are 'edited' versions of the plays, cobbled together by contemporary editors from a number of sources which we know are mostly acurate. Mostly. I was amazed when I read about all this while studying for my A-Levels. There are many versions of the plays and roughly fall into two camps, the Quartos and the Folios. Now at the time, bootlegging was rife and so these printings were often from not entirely trustworthy sources -- we have the editing together of the recollection of actors; a written copy of the script sold afterwards by a minor actor looking for some fast cash to supplement their pitiful actors earnings (the issue with this being that this not be Shakespeares final version of the play); a stage hand's version full of directions; a non-contemporary version of the play which has appeared a hundred years after Shakespeare's death. Different camps will argue endlessly about which can stake the greater claim for accuracy. This article tracks the history of the First Folio, one of the original collected works, now considered to well -- not too good really, and how a cult has developed around it's inception.
Blog! It's about time for another blogging superstar so today we'll pay homage to Jason Kottke. He's the most linked to blogger at Bloxdex and it's not hard to see why. As soon as that page downloads there is feeling we are in the presence of quality, with it's simple functional design. Frequently linked to from the front page of Mefi, with Jason it's isn't so much the subject matter as they way it's expressed, as this entry from the 5th November demonstrates. I too pine for an Apple Mac, every time my Microsoft PC crashes at start-up.
Film Well at least we'll have something to watch on TV, Christmas 2004.
Geography When younger I was always resolute in wanting to visit Milton Keynes and Transylvania, mostly because I liked the sound of the names. Eventually my curiosity about Milton Keynes subsided when I saw photographs, but I never quite got over my Transylvania pangs. Like most people I had in my imagination lots of hills, many castles and streams of villages with torches wanting to batter down the doorways of the many castles. But the contemporary reality of this small part of Romania is very different, especially in the post-Ceausescu era. Robert R. Thompson of Pop Matters visited recently and describes how the former dictator is now thought of in gothic horror terms.
Age I found myself in a discussion with my fellow co-workers today about the relative merrits of todays top pop acts. The crux of the matter was whether Nelly Furtado or Natalie Imbruglia were the greater artist. Since I'm something of an admirer of both I kept much to the side lines, offering support for Ms. Imbruglia wherever possible. Then things turned to Kylie Minogue. Now, Minogue was my first pop idol crush until I moved onward to Debbie Gibson. The gentleman voiced the opinion that 'Kylie's better than both of them.' And I mentioned that I was a fan of Kylie the first time around in 1987 but now she seems somewhat manufactured (or perhaps more manufactured than in the past). I thought for a moment and asked him when he was born.
'1983.' He said.
He was four when Scott and Charlene tied the knot. I suddenly felt very, very old....
Nature The City of York is facing a rat epidemic, and not even the Pied Piper can save them. People are used seeing foxes and grey squirrels in the street but this is something different. As one resident describes: "I've seen a rat in the city centre before, but not more than one at once and not this close to people - several people had just left the pub and the rats were within feet of them. I could hear a woman shrieking at them. I don't imagine it's going to help our tourism problems if this is what visitors to the city are seeing on their nights out." I don't know -- the city has always wanted to go for that authentic heritage feel...
Liverpool Life The 51st State, a new movie set in Liverpool is released. Local website grabs interview with 'Hollywood Heavyweight.' Surely he's been working out in the gym a lot what with being a Jedi and all.

History Guardian Interview by Stephen Moss with veterans of what was supposed to be the 'war to end all wars': "A colleague said it must be humbling to meet these men, and so it was. Not just because in their late teens they experienced trench warfare, engaged in acts of casual heroism, were strengthened by the barbarities they saw, but because of the lives they went on to lead. They have reached a kind of hyper-age, where they have outlived wives and second wives, outlived children too, yet still display an inner strength and thirst for life, an unwillingness to give best, that is truly remarkable." We never learn, do we?
Archeaology The BBC's Treasure Hunt for missing and 'lost' material has published its findings. A few bits and pieces to coo at, like another clip of some Daleks, odd episodes of Z Cars and the first episode of 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue'. The question is, how long will it be before we can get to see (or hear) them?
Rings You've seen the trailer. Now hear the entire Lord of the Rings soundtrack on-line. As real world magician David Blane might say, 'This is not a trick...' [requires Quicktime]
Space I'm not completely breathing a sigh of relief, but the odds of the human race being wiped out by an asteroid hitting the Earth have been reduced after careful study. New Scientist Will Knight: "The new estimate results from the most detailed survey of the Solar System's asteroids so far. Lead researcher Zeljko Ivezic of Princeton University acknowledges that the survey cannot guarantee safety, but adds: "It is clear that we should feel somewhat safer than we did before we had the survey data." " Yet another example of 'um-err don't know really' science, then.
Blog! I'm including this for having the wordiest title for a weblog I think any of us has seen. It's full title is Obeying the Inscrutible Exhortations of my Soul. Also with added blog definition: "This is my homepage, where I aim to amuse myself and, potentially, others. You'll find that I use this space to discuss topics of interest to me (and, potentially, others), share bits of information and hilarity, and experiment with various concepts, ideas, and languages. Generally, I am here to waste more time than I can afford. I'm absolutely delighted that you've chosen to waste time with me." We are too ...

I too have taken the Temptation Island quiz and apparently "You came, you saw, you danced! You are in fact human, and being human is being fallible. You like taking risks but you also think about how those risks effect those around you. As far as that long term relationship? You definitely have it in you, but it's not time to settle just yet. With a solid head on your soldiers, you're going places!" What? Like Siberia?
What? The Belarus News website hasn't been updated since 11 September -- a bit far from New York isn't it?
Quiz I am 12% Raver

I am not surprised...
Charity China Daily reports a benefit concert to aid the work of the Theatre of the Silence: "The theatre encourages participation by people who have impaired hearing and those that have full hearing, as the company believes that whether people can hear or not everyone has the right to enjoy and partake in arts activities. People who live in a silent environment should have the opportunity to enjoy arts such as theatre. The company's work embodies an alternative aesthetic based on the members' superb body movements, thus creating theatre pieces not only for the silent, but for all." An excellent cause, except the headline is somewhat politically incorrect: "Musical extravaganza falls on deaf ears" Excuse me, what?
Starstruck Two days. Four celebrities? You decide... Yesterday morning saw Geoffrey McGivern (Ford Prefect in the radio version of The Hitch-hiker's Guide To The Galaxy) carrying a large sports bag up towards Manchester Oxford Road Station. Yesterday lunch time Sarah White (Bev from Brookside) and Claire Rushbrook (Brenda Blethyn's daughter in Secrets and Lies, Roxanne Purley) killing themselves laughing outside a clothes shop near Albert Square in Manchester. Tonight, saw the snooker player John Parrot freezing to death as he walked up towards Lime Street Station in Liverpool.
Title image is of course Jewel, whose new album has just been released in the US. Spent much of last night listening to 'Pieces of You' whilst waiting for the firework displays to start.
Rings New Zealand appoints minister for Tolkien affairs: "The first ''Minister of Lord of the Rings'' -- as the Kiwi press has dubbed him -- is Pete Hodgson, 51, who also serves as minister of energy and of science, research, and technology. ''This film will really put us on the map,'' says Hodgson, who boasts his own wizardly white beard. ''Not many people knew that 'Star Wars' was in Morocco, but everyone will know that Middle Earth is in New Zealand.''
People Shock horror -- the boss of McDonalds is nice! Well, according to The Economist. Then could he do something about the breakfasts? The last one I had made me feel sick all day: "Jack Greenberg's favourite video clip in the wake of September 11th shows a crowd of irate Muslims shaking their fists and roaring anti-American slogans outside a McDonald's restaurant in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital. Until, that is, the aghast owner runs outside, shouting that he is a Muslim who shuts up shop each Friday so that his employees can go to the mosque. Abashed, the protesters slink away." A bit sinister though isn't it?
Film X-Men 3? We haven't even had the second one yet...
Blog! Juliet O'Keefe's Eculogues is the site I hoped this would be until I realised that I like trash culture too much. An intelligent weblog which feels like a meal not just a snack.
Photography Mark Oatney's uniquely abstract approach to recording the colours of nature creates stunning vistas no bigger than the palm of your hand. Flash site, clear and vivid.
Film Who is Agent 15? A tiny but perfectly formed feminist film in the tradition of James Bond and Nikita.
Sport In keeping with the San Francisco spirit, we have one man's recollections of skate boarding in the area. Yet another reminder that my youth wasn't as mispent as it could have been: "so, when i needed my next board, it was a no-brainer: a Board to Death! that was the tank of skateboards, made for Fogtown, they were almost as fucking big as the one my dad made for me, but they had a cool skull and crossbones for graphics. while all the kids were still using nosebones and skid plates, that fucking made them obsolete. you could literally do a wheelie skid down complete hills without wearing through a ply."
The Trams I think the opening few paragraphs really sell this story: "TRAM bosses are buying San Francisco's old streetcars and shipping them to Manchester to ease overcrowding on the Metrolink. The Californian city is selling its 15-year-old trams for just £170 instead of sending them for scrap. Two streetcars are being brought to Manchester and another two could follow if trials prove successful." Somewhere in Manchester a Tram enthusiast has just seen his equivalent of 'The Matrix' ... in fact I can see myself just waiting for one to take a trip ...
Life I never say a permanent goodbye to people. Anyone who's aware of A Dance To The Music Of Time will know why. It's because you'll always bump into people again and sometimes in the strangest of places. This helps me to cope with the kind of emotions I experienced today, my first day back at work. Much of the day had slipped by as I'd expected. Then I turned to a colleague and asked, jokingly whether anyone had been fired in my absense.
'Oh -- Liz has left...' He says. For him this was old news. For me it was a breaking story.
I liked Liz. We hardly ever said much of anything to each other most of the time, but she always had a glint in her eye -- she's destined for something special. I used to pass my morning paper on to her every day so she could check the job ads.
My first thought was about that paper and where it would go now. But then I remembered she hadn't gone. For now perhaps, but not from my life as whole. I know that in about five years I'll be standing on a street corner in New York and she'll pass me by on her way to a bio-mechanics conference. I know this because it's happened so many times before...
Blogs! Zannah has many intelligent things to say on the subject of people (which is why this a link day today and you're not getting my philosophy thrust down your necks at the start -- this says anything I might have had on my mind much more eloquently): "There are a lot of things I'd like to say about people. Not specific people: people in general. I like to say I understand people. And I do, to a certain extent. But I think the more you understand people, the more you come to realise you don't really understand them at all. People are confusing. There are some people I will never be able to understand because I just can't fathom their logic, or their reasoning, or simply their path of thinking. Sometimes I just don't get why people do the things they do."

And bringing up the rear is Madeline, The Girl With A Scooter who had the good taste to link me yesterday, even though she's in the middle of a cold and her mid-terms. Her blog's opening post from a few months ago is one of the best I've read so far: "*taps microphone* Is this thing on? Oh, ok well here goes nothing..."
People 'Emanuelle' star Sylvia Kristel, interviewed in The Guardian, regarding her film career: "Well, I'm tall, skinny, look fairly androgynous with no tits to speak of. But I did look confident nude and I think that's what attracted people. If I'd had pouty lips and big boobs like Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield I think my life would have been as short as theirs. You can't hang on to those type of looks."
Fine Art The man with one of the most difficult jobs in art curatorship, Stephen Deuchar, director of Tate Britain has had to weather some criticism. During it's recent renovation, the original Tate themed its hang around various vague subjects. The idea was sound -- surely we would be able to see the similarities in how artists approached some ideas even though they were born hundreds of years apart. But seeing Stanley Spencer next to Turner was too much for some people. Deucher, interview by the BBC, wonders what the fuss was about: "(We) made imaginative use of the limited space available. It was rated highly by the public, though some of the critics were certainly very hostile. I think the debate it helped to begin about how pictures should be displayed was a very healthy and engaging one. Now everyone has a view! Hopefully our new displays will create similar interest and perhaps controversy too. "
Architecture It seems that the 9.11 tragedyt wasn't the first time a plane had collided with a building in New York -- in 1945 something similar happened to The Empire State Building. Architecture Week presents the precident: "It's been said that the World Trade Center Towers, tragically destroyed on September 11, 2001, were designed to withstand the impact of a speeding jet airplane. Why would architects and engineers in the 1960s take such an unlikely event into account for their design requirements? It is partly thanks to an accidental collision over 50 years ago that the new twin towers were built so tough. Engineering to incorporate lessons from the past helped the towers continue standing for an hour and more before collapsing. This saved thousands and thousands of lives in the World Trade Center disaster."
Film Not to be read until after you've seen the Star Wars II trailer -- two Canadian local paper journalists give their verdict: "Erm. Anyway. I know this is just a first glimpse, and I know we said the same thing three years ago, but this movie could be really good. Emphasis on the could, and also on the be. But if nothing else we'll get Boba Fett's dad. And Natalie Portman, all tousled and HOT."
Architecture The flats were I live are in the process of being renovated -- next year we're going to be moved into a different block temporarily during the building work and at the end our thirty-year old block should be as good as new. We had the option of demolishing but the residents on-mass decided they like the views of the park too much. The people of the New Town of Sligo in Ireland chose to knock their old homes down and create a new community, hopefully wiping out the problems of the past. Kathy Sheriden reports for The Irish Times.
People The FameTracker lifts the lid on Leelee Sobieski, the actress who confused everyone by looking and being two years older in 'Never Been Kissed' than 'Eyes Wide Shut', even though both films were released at the same time: "A peek back at Never Been Kissed confirms that Sobieski was, in in fact, unspectacular, looking washed-out, tired, and unable to match (Drew) Barrymore's perennial perkiness. Leelee's crowning moment? Squeezing into a skintight electric-blue bodysuit. In Eyes Wide, "Shut," she did little besides run around in her underwear and hide behind Tom Cruise."