Music Cool and Strage Cover Art. Hard to explain, amazing to look at ...

Film Editing for David Lynch must be one of the more 'creative' gigs in the film business, but it's something Mary Sweeney takes in her stride according to MovieMaker: "David follows his scripts very closely. I rely heavily on the scripts because I don't always know what the hell is going on in the beginning, to tell you the truth. But the beautiful part about working in post with David is that one has the time to discover all the layers and go deep into his world. I never know where the point is when I've entered into the world of the film and know where I'm going and what he's doing. It is usually an unremarkable passage, but all of a sudden I just understand."

People Ms. magazine's Women of the Year. Agreement with most of the list, although some seem slighly generic. Yoko Ono? What again? Why? Particular pleased to see Michelle Yeoh acknowledged, oh and Afgham women (yep, this is an ecclectic list). I would also include Cathy Freeman and Aaliya (posthumously).

Books An extremely silly rant from The Spectator against translating Harry Potter into ancient Greek and Latin. I'm with J K Rowling -- anything to preserve a dying language. I do wonder were this writer was when some nut translated Hamlet into Klingon. Fictional languages are another subject entirely ...
Liverpool Life This is odd. The Matthew Street area has for years been a mecca for night life in the city centre, because of The Beatles connection, but also because it's less awful than the rest of the place later on in the evening. Now people have moved into some flat which have recently been built in the area and have complained about the noise -- which seems as logical as moving into the flightpath of an aeroplane and asking the airport to fly less plane. The council have backed them in this case and have ordered two of the more popular bars to turn the noise down or soundproof. Correct me if I'm wrong but surely if you wanted peace and quiet you wouldn't move into a flat above a bar which you know is open until all hours? One punter puts it perfectly: "One of the best things about Mathew Street is the music spilling out from the bars on to the streets. That is what makes it so special. Surely anybody who moved into Mathew Street would realise that it wasn't going to be a quiet retreat."
Self-publishing Fan fiction. Nothing better. You know in your heat of hearts that Angel should have picked Cordelia so instead of waiting for the show's writers to see your way of thinking, you produce the story yourself. There is actually some excellent fan fiction on the web (the E.R. Holridge continuation from the final episode of My So-Called Life) but there is also a lot of well, garbage. Godawful Fan Fiction collects this together and presents it with an amusingly critical eye. Their page on crossovers is particularly biting:

"You wouldn't be a connoisseur of bad fan fiction if you hadn't already noticed that the author's name appears in the title of the story ... I'll content myself with imparting these facts; it's a crossover with DS9 and The Avengers, Janeway and Paris have a daughter called Larissa, and it's 80+ pages of pure, unadulterated crap. Around page 60, Vic Fontane [sic] asks, “Does this story have no end?”, and I really can't blame him."

Watch out for the link on the same page to the strangest of slash fictions featuring Buffy and Agent Scully from 'The X-Files'. [via YIL]
Blog! The US intelligence agencies are proving their worth yet again. Apparently the bomb in that man's shoe would have damaged the plane if it had gone off. And I've actually heard that the Earth revolves around the Sun... perhaps more fantastically, the weblogger Acme was on the plane and has written the obligatory entry: "You can imagine us being slightly nervous at this point. We were forced to sit down. We had to put hands up to go to the toilet. Anyone standing up was a suspect. The crew decide to show the film "Legally Blonde" to calm us down. It kind of works, until we see F15 fighter jets on starboard."
Commuter Life (again) Something I neglected to mention. This is the day that everyone decided to call my mobile phone. Which was sitting in the lost property office at Lime Street Station. So everyone who called, from my Mum and Dad, to my friend Chris and his friend Simon spoke to the old gentleman in the lost property office, bewildering all of them with his gruff voice and tales of my lost phone. Apparently when my Mum called later on to find out when they close (yes, that’s right) he sounded as though he was about to throw it under the rails if anyone rang again…. Incidentally my ringer is ‘Enola Gay’ by OMD – I hope he’s never been in a war ….
New Year I'm staying in at New Year. It's always a disappointment anyway, so I'll probably watch some new year themed movies like When Harry Met Sally, Strange Days and the totally strange Hal Hartley opus The Book of Life (Jesus Christ returns to Earth at Millenium to have a chat with the Devil and Mary Magdalen (played by Polly Harvey) about the upcomping apocalypse). Poeple with space apparently have parties and invite their friends. For these people, in other words, probably you, TNT Magazine offers tips for the perfect party. Although it has to be said, some of the advice is inviting trouble: "The bath: People always gather in the kitchen, which is fine if it leads to the dance area. To decrease the congestion of people wanting their drinks, fill the bathtub with ice and get your guests to leave their drinks there." Have they seen the size of an average bathroom?

I have a habit of talking a lot sometimes.

Christmas I've received my twenty-first birthday present at the age of twenty-seven. Let me explain. When I was 21, my main present was to be a piece of art of some description. Something I liked, but also I think something, which captured the essence of who I am. At the time nothing came to mind. I hunted through art fairs and craft fairs but nothing came. As time went on I decided that perhaps there wasn't anything I really loved which wasn't hanging in an art gallery. There was a portrait of a ballerina I spotted when I was twenty-four, but I think my attraction there was purely hormonal. So when I opened my final present on Christmas Day I was flabbergasted to find my perfect picture.

?The Flat Iron Building? as photographed by Amy Gibbings

I nearly cried. True.

I have a habit of talking a lot sometimes. I start and I'll go for hours - coherently but commenting on everything. I was at a market with my parents during my lunch hour from work the Saturday before Christmas. It was a combined continental market (selling German and Dutch produce and beer) and craft market in Manchester. On one of the stalls were some of the loveliest photographs I'd ever seen and I started enthusing and particularly fixating on a particular architectural oddity. Here is something which in reality shouldn't exist - it's tall, it's weirdly shaped, and there isn't anything like it. Other than Liverpool Cathedral it's my favourite building. I'd decided my parents hadn't been listening as they never seem to and just carried on. It transpired that when I'd left them they'd gone back and bought it. They had been listening when I least expected it.

I spent most of Christmas Day just looking at it. It's about A4 in black and white. It's the angle everyone shows, straight on, but this time with a lamp post in front which accentuates the building?s central angle. The scene is covered in snow (perfect for this time of year).

So now I have my 21st birthday present, my best present ever.
TV The crisis at Channel 4 seems to be deepening. This is my favourite channel but things are taking a turn for the worse. Apart from no sign of a start date for the second series of Angel, they've given the breakfast slot over to a Sky led consortium (giving them a foothold in terrestrial television) with a package which doesn't seem too far removed from The Big Breakfast and now they've lost Dom Joly to the BBC. In audience terms, the latter won't mean too much in the long run (afterall its just a change in channel - duh!) but in channel terms it's a disaster -- as though they are quite happy to nurture new talent but can't actually keep hold of it. Hmmm...
Commuter Life I lost my mobile phone on the train to work this morning. I’d moved it into my fleece pocket in case it rang so that I could hear it and as I alighted at the station I felt into my pocket for my season ticket and realised the phone wasn’t there. I dashed back onto the train to were I was sitting and it wasn’t on the seat and lady who was sitting there wasn’t too forthcoming as I read the newspaper I’d left on the table. I was distraught. It felt like I’d lost a part of my life – as though there was a gap in my mind somehow.

On the platform I ran to the stationmaster. No one had handed it in. Then it occurred to me – I knew the number. I drew out his phone and dialled the number. I listened. It rang. And rang. Then my own voice spoke, my answering service like a plea in the darkness ‘Hi! It’s Stuart. You know what to do…’

Where was it? Who had it?

I headed into work, stopping off at a telephone kiosk on the way to call the number again. It rang again, but less than last time. I met a former manager. We chatted on the walk up to work. I managed to keep the conversation going but all I could think about was the phone.

In work I took the nearest phone and called the number again. By this time, my hands were shaking. Someone answer.

‘Hello?’ I said. ‘I think I lost this phone, and you’ve picked it up.’

‘Actually,’ said the voice, ‘I’m the guard on the train – your phone was handed in by an elderly couple.’ I remembered them, sitting opposite me, his cloth cap, her bright yellow coat. I’ll never say anything bad about pensioners again.

The guard sent the phone back to Lime Street on the next train and I picked it up tonight, offering the somewhat appropriate password, ‘Thomas The Tank Engine’. When it was back in my hands, I kissed it lightly. I’ll never lose my phone again.