Future So that's the end of this week long experiment. I welcome your comments (as always). Normal blogging services will resume next week. If any none Brits would like an explaination of some of the wierder references, please drop me a line and I'll try my best ... Star Wars is out in a fortnight ... time flies ...
Monday IV Home stretch. The Manchester Evening News Arena is ten minutes walk away. I guy a large chunky Kit Kat on the way to fill the gar left by my desertless meal. Then realise I’m so close I have to stand nearby to finish the bar. I’m five minutes away from the beginning of an event to celebrate athletic achievement and I’m chowing down. I try to stay in the shadows in case anyone is paying attention.

People are queuing up by the main arena entrance. I flash my ticket to the elderly volunteer who is checking them. He man behind me doesn’t have a valid pass, just some games flyer and is pointed in the direction of the arena box office. Looking around I’m not surprised to discover a whole range of people of different ages. Some of them even look a bit like me – or the idea of what I think I look like. No is really speaking – we just look pensively at the entrance and the fight for seats within.

Doors open. There is a surge forward. A second row of stewards take the small ticket strips. Following the signs, my seating area is on the other side of the arena. On the way I stop off at a reception bin. They’ve asked for a passport photo and a small piece of cloth with an image on it. Both will become part of a giant tapestry which celebrates the games that will hang in a city building.

I also pass by a stand giving away ‘good’ bags. In this is a folder for storing volunteer literature, a Double Decker and a bar of soap. No one laughs when someone remarks “Are they saying we northerners need a wash?”

My main section entrance is blocked by a photo opportunity. Flag-bearers for all of the competing nations are ringing two men on stilts dressed as cricketers supported by giant bats. I’m a bit worried when they start to sway.

Doors open. This is my third large indoor space of the day and the biggest. I’m expecting it to be cold but the heating system engenders tropical temperatures, presumably to drive up drinks sales during events.

I take my seat. The arena begins to fill up. We’re shuffling around so that a group can sit together. Everyone is good natured, shielding some nervousness. Who the hell are all you people?

The pre-warm up show is being run by two local radio DJs who I think do the breakfast show. They think they’re Mark and Lard from Radio 1. They aren’t.. The general consensus seems to be that hanging would too good for them.

The celebrities – or rather the cast of ‘Coronation Street’ arrive. I’ve never watched the show, but I’m frankly unimpressed. If U2 had arrived, or the cast of ‘As If’, that would have been something. They seem uncomfortable sitting together – like a staff night out which has been organised by the boss.

The warm man is introduced. It’s Ted Robbins. Ted and his sister Kate had a very short lived comedy series in the Eighties. Since then, Ted has carved a warm-up niche for himself, having worked on Wogan and countless game shows. At this moment I think he’s going to be the compere for the evening. My heart sinks. But entertainment-wise I’m high maintenance so I just grit my teeth as Ted captures the hearts of the audience.

After a while, as though their life depended upon it, the three comedians begin a Mexican wave – the first fun moment of the evening. They expect it to go around the stadium once and stop. But this is a human perpetual motion machine and in carries on … and on … and on … and on … and on …

Until the real compere for the evening comes out, to the theme music from ‘Stars in their Eyes’ – it’s Matthew Kelly, his armour of Light Entertainment clattering onto the stage. We’d been forewarned but seeing him the flesh you do wonder about the career trajectory – and if Leslie Crowther had never had that car crash if Kelly would be in the position his is not.

The scene resembles the TV version of ‘The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’. I wonder if we’re going to see judgement day as well. You can’t help but admire Kelly – he’s very professional even when saddled with a script which has been written by the Games people. He knows that some of the thing he’s going to put us through this evening are going to be crap, but he manages to put an ironic spin on it all. Salute.

And now for my first guest … I was rudely awakened when Prince Edward and Sophie thingy walked out. The Prince is in rude health considering recent events – Sophie still looks spookily like Diana and Jill Dando combined. It’s a good, tight, well written speech will lauds us all for showing up. God bless you Mr. Windsor. His co-presenters are introduced. Steve Cramb, Roger Black, Tanni Grey Thompson … and Ted Robbins. It’s that man again. I ponder how the really famous sports people inevitably hover towards television and how the post-Des BBC is happy to have them. Their presenting interviewing practice will come in useful tonight.

This isn’t a linear event. Elements are repeated, almost like themes in music. I can offer only a flavour

A running theme is to try and introduce a feeling of the teem within the crowd. We are asked on several occasions to introduce ourselves to the people sitting either side. After the fifth time of asking we are becoming old friends. I’ve already had team working rammed down my throat at work – so much so that I live for the time out of work when I can be an individual. But it seems important here – although at this stage it’s difficult to envisage how it will be during the games as we haven’t really met who we’ll be working with.

Throughout the show, during scene changes, the sportspeople (and Ted Robbins) interview volunteers throughout the arena. A running theme emerges. No one really seems to know what they’ll be doing beyond their job title. I’ll be working in Media Services at this very arena. I have no idea what that means. I assume I’ll be sending some faxes. Or something. Some of the interviews work, others seem quite stilted. Nervousness again. What my drama teacher used to call the ‘dickhead factor’ – do I want to make an arse of myself in front of all these people?

Video messages also weave through the proceedings. I grit my teeth through Alex Fergurson and wonder why only professional Mancunians have been tapped. Sue Pollard? But then everyone gave their time, and interestingly they take time out to thank particular volunteers. The longest is reserved for Mr. Tony Blair – although if he’d seen the reaction in the hall he might have wondered if it is worth standing again next time.

’The Atkinsons’ is a short play split in two as a faux-Royle Family reveal they’ve become volunteers at the games and what happens on their first day. These are essentially info-dumps but are nicely played, especially by the two youngsters. Nothing to worry Updike, but who else can say they’ve essayed their craft in such a large arena?

Music for the night is supplied by ‘Africa Africa’ one of the guests to the themed music festival which is running concurrently with the games. And inevitably, Heather Small singing that piece iconised during the Sydney Olympics and now part of that car ad. Personally I always preferred ‘Search for the Hero’ but the audience is wrapped.

Special mention, then for the star of the evening, Roger Black. I said earlier that his TV work was good practice. I was possibly understating his public speaking ability – he’d been asked to talk about team work and chose to remind us of the win by the 4x400m team in the 1991 World Championship. He is self deprecating and funny, especially when talking about the sources of his team mates and although I’m sure he probably gives this same piece to businesses, it sounds completely natural. Then the race appears on the large screen. We all know the outcome otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing it, and yet Black has built up to it so well that audience finds itself shout ‘Go Chris’ as Akabussi crosses the line before the American. The hall fills with cheers and applause. That’s public speaking power.

So despite my cynicism, the evening worked. I think you’d find it hard to find someone in that hall who isn’t all fired up for The Games, this no pay gig being the best decision they ever made.

I exit the back entrance of the arena which leads directly onto the platform at Victoria Station. The platform is filled with people and their telltale carrier bags. I ask one girl if she’s enjoyed the evening. She has. I ask what she’s doing – she’ll be dancing in the opening and closing ceremonies. I can believe it.

I share the train ride home with someone I originally met on the pre-volunteer programme. She seems to be doing it because she wants the experience but more than that because she likes meeting new people.

I can’t help but agree with her.
Monday III Just general chit-chat here and the gentle moaning of someone on day release. I would like to know why people feel the need to walk out of a film even before the credits have started, especially when they block the screen as they go. How rude.

Already tea time. Decide to go for junk food. The Hard Rock CafĂ© is very close, but very expensive -- £9.50 for an ordinary look cheeseburger and fries. My appetite wetted by the idea of a burger I stroll around to the nearest Wetherspoons. This is a cathedral of a pub, cavernous spaces with many bars. It is full, and the no-smoking section has disappeared. I can’t breath. There are also a lot of large drunk men shouting at each other. Not very appetising.

I still need to eat but I’m conscious of the time. On my way out of ‘The Printworks’ I had noticed ‘Wagamama’. I had thought it was a fitness club, but on reflection I remembered there was a menu outside.

It’s a noodle bar. The prices are reasonable and in comparison to what I’d be paying elsewhere … The restaurant is in the basement, down two flights of stairs; the kind of stairs at the end of which the toilets in Macdonalds seem to be.

Enter the restaurant and I’m in a giant room resembling the dining halls found in universities. Like those there are about twenty long tables, left to right, into the far distance. At each table are four small benches, each large enough to seat two people. There is silence; a vague smell of spices.

I stroll to the other end of the hall and the waitress seats me at an empty table. Other diners are dotted around, whispering in conversation in reverence to the food. The table is set with an A3 paper place mat and a pair of ominous looking chopsticks. From the menu I select what appears to be the house speciality, ‘miso ramen’. The menu reads: “spiced miso soup with noodles and stir-fried chicken, carrots, leeks, garlic and bean sprouts, garnished with wakame, menma and sesame seeds”. Two minutes and three sips of water later a large bowl arrives filled with a dirty green liquid, many vegetables, large hunks of chicken and in the centre a massive pile of noodles. It’s as big as a fruit bowl and there is a large wooden ladle.

I gingerly pick up the chopsticks. I’ve never been able to handle these and almost ask for a fork, but I notice the other patrons are brandishing the wooden sticks with all the ease of a lightsaber. I decide to have a go.

Some not too far away is using the ladle to bring the food out of the liquid and then picking it up with the chopsticks from here. I try this, but my hand slips and I flick juice onto the table in front and onto my jumper. A waitress passes.

”So chopsticks?”

She breaks up a fresh pair and sits opposite.

”You hold it like a pen.” Her hands hold the sticks confidently. Sadly the way she hold a pen differs significantly from my monkey like attempts. Her sticks are rigid, mime still flop the as though they’re trying to actively avoid the bowl.

”Think I’ve got it…” I like and continue to struggle – but time is passing and I ultimately find myself raising my hand. “About that fork…”

Coming up in the busiest weekend in ages: The Commonwealth Games Volunteer Event (finally)
Film Bend it like Beckham sadly doesn’t tell a story we haven’t seen before. But everything looks nice and I did smile at the end.
Film 24 Hour Party People attempts something which many British films are forgetting to do. It’s reflecting upon our past for the audience who lived in the time, not pandering to the needs of the global market place. In case, however, the approach fails because it largely depends on the memory of the audience and trusting that they had been in the area at the time. The are in-jokes about The Factory nightclub and Hacienda which will only be intelligible to people who frequented these places and for some of the film it’s these moments which the story relaxes into.

There isn’t actually anything wrong with most of the performances. Steve Coogan is particularly good and for viewers who never knew Tony Wilson might work. If however you’ve seen the presenter even on the fabled ‘Granada Reports’ his appearance here feels wrong. It’s parody to the point of irrelevance, but it is to Wilson’s credit (or detriment) that he let such an unsympathetic portrayal pass.

The main problem is information. Even though this is a bio-pic, certain things are never adequately explained. What was Wilson’s obsession with a waster like Shaun Ryder? If he is in real life anything like the Steve Coogan version, how can anyone still be speaking to him, especially his ex-beauty queen wife? Why do some of the people from New Order still seem to be hanging around that office with that table all those years later – we assume it’s because they own part of the company but we don’t know … and how come if they own part of the company why aren’t they rushing out those fabled new albums … would that make financial sense?

In a word, read the book and wait for the video…
Monday II Probably in keeping with the mood of the film, the two couples at the back began touching each other even before the credits had finished. On one side we have full-on sex on the other just pleasuring. For much of the time they keep the moaning to a minimum, but as the film continued one pair were getting louder and louder. I walked over. As I lurked over them a pair of girls eyes peered at me through the darkness.

”I’m trying to watch the film…” I said militantly.

Her boyfriend looked up from her crotch and glared at me. I just returned the gaze for a moment and went back to my seat in time to see Shaun Rider drop is methodone. Peace (apart from the noise of the film). Somewhat nervous of reprisals I dashed out at the end.
Monday I Get off the train at Manchester Victoria. Busy day – cinema then….

I make a point of coming here instead of Manchester Picadilly on non-work days as the city looks and feels different from this end. It was at the epicentre of the bomb and contains the most regeneration.

I jump on the tram into the city centre. I jump of in Picadilly Gardens (a park under construction). I’m taking my vanilla Region Two copy of ‘Dogma’ to Vinyl Exchange. More than most second-hand record shops this feels like ‘Championship Vinyl from ‘High Fidelity’ and even has a few Jack Black’s working there. I’m offered £5.50 exchange for the DVD, which is slightly less than I was expecting, but it always is.

There are no movies in the DVD section worth watching, but in TV I find the second series of ‘Spaced’ – the inlay is a bit bashed, but with exchange it only costs £3.50.

My usual lunch on these trips to the cinema is a ‘Meal Deal’ at Boots (triple chicken sandwich, crisps, coke). But remembering how I’m trying to do something new when I eat out I look for a salad bar in the Tesco Metro. Everything is pre-packed and expensive. I eventually go for a Cheese and Pasta Salad. It’s a large portion for £1.99. When I reach the checkout, I realise there is no spoon.

”On the pizza counter,” the check out woman advises.

They are small and flimsy and look like they would stand a chance against a pizza, let alone the lettuce in the salad.

I consider taking a detour to Habitat on my way to the pictures, but I haven’t the time – and a single fork their would probably cost as much as my lunch which is a bit ostentatious.

’The FilmWorks’ is my current cinema of choice. Unlike most city centre picture house, this has armchair style seating, large screens throughout and Dolby Digital sound that actually works. Even not so great films benefit from a decent projection. The cinema is part of ‘The Printworks’ complex, a collection of restaurants and bookshops. The build gets it’s name from being place were ‘The Mirror’ was typeset and printed before computerisation and was another piece of urban regeneration stemming from that bomb. The inside has become a New York street complete with King Kong on the fake skyline, and smoke rising from the sidewalk.

An elderly couple beat me to the box office, then spend five minutes deciding what they want to see. I head up and afterwards and ask for a ticket to ’24 Hour Party People’. Inside the auditorium, my usual seat has been swamped by three students with their feet up on the back of the seat in front complaining to themselves that the screen is too big. I slink into a chair at the centre and begin to work my way through the Cheese Salad. The fork is no help and I end up shovelling the lettuce into my mouth.

The trailers are standard fair. ‘Panic Room’ looks good. I’m more impressed by the Orange advert as a young woman in nothing but a night robe makes her way across a tundra to give husband a good night kiss.

As the film begins, two couples enter and go to sit on the very back in the very and left and right corners. The lights go out. The film starts.

To follow in my busiest weekend in ages: The films, what happens during the films, the Commonwealth Games Volunteer Party.
Sunday I’m not a good drinker. Of the myriad beverages available I’m limited to a few bottle beer. Actually just ‘Rolling Rock’ or ‘Budweiser’. In isolation. I can’t even mix the two. Which is unfortunately what I’d done the night before. This was no ordinary hang over. This was a horror movie – it involved a scary monster, gothic castles and villages with torches.

I wanted to stay in bed. My family wanted me to go shopping. Tesco superstores aren’t the easiest places to navigate when every sound hurts your ears and you can’t process the simplest of conversations. I manage to pick out my junk food for the week.

I go back to bed as soon as I get home, too quickly for comfort. I forgo the tradition Sunday morning bacon butties. This was serious. So serious I sat through both audi commentaries on my new Region One Dogma: Special Edition DVD.

My head almost clears by 5:30 in time for dinner, breaded chicken KFC style. I spend the evening writing this weblog. I’m not really in the mood, but I haven’t updated for a few days and I feel obligated to the few readers who joined when it was linked from Metafilter.

It takes longer to find this week’s logo, or something which might work. There isn’t anything topical happening this week, but I notice my Edward Hopper postcard collage on the wall and this seems to fit.

‘24’ is particularly tense, and may have a claim to being the best action series of the past decade. For once the audience is treated with respect and intelligence. ‘The X-Files’ continues to be a mess. It should have ended when Duchovny left, yet it still splutters onward. Robert Patrick is fine actor, but his character doesn’t fit here. Tonight’s episode about ESP murders feels more like an episode of ‘The Outer Limits’.

Check my email. My ‘Blogger Insider’ partner still hasn’t bounced back her questions and answers. This is the second time this has happened. A week to go.

Bed time.
Saturday I get off the train and walk speedily through the barrier, the guard failing as usual to take time to check my ticket. I try to ring Chris. He still isn’t answering his phone. I’m not sure why I’m ringing, habit I suppose. I always ring home when I get into Liverpool, so I suppose I’m calling him for the same reason. I’m home.

Whenever I go out straight from my commuter train, I know I’ll have to decide upon where to have tea, and again I eye the Burger King in the station. Then I think about the other evening meals I’ve had that week. They all seem to involve meat and some sort of frying or grilling. I’d had a Whopper Meal in Southend of Tuesday. I couldn’t do it again. I walk gingerly passed and get money from the nearby cash machine.

I’m supposed to be meeting Chris at ‘The Pilgrim’ off Hardman Street. I play the road through my head (like Acacia Road at the beginning of an episode of Mr. Benn) thinking of all the eateries. All I can think of are the chip shop, the ‘Hot ‘n Tender’ chicken place opposite and the Hardman Pizza Place just up the way. I catch a bus. Of course there are more places to eat, but I just kept looking at my watch. 7:15. Damn. I’m supposed to be meeting him a 7:30. Not going to make that. Better ring him.

As I stride up the street (which amounts to being a hill which someone has decided to run a road down -- think San Francisco). I pass a French Restaurant which has recently closed, and a Greek Restaurant. Then I realise the Everyman Bistro is around the corner.

The Everyman is a regional theatre which happens to have a great bar in its basement. One of Liverpool’s little secrets, where the intelligencia and various hangers on go to eat. Willy Russell probably came here for dinner when he was writing ‘Educating Rita’. I manage to get through to Chris. He agrees to meet me here (having not left the house yet).

I stand at the food kitchen, looking over the menu blackboards; the specials board is seriously depleted, some sort of salad being the only thing left. I notoriously can never make a decision in these situations. I never know what I want because I’ve never had any of these before. In Starbucks it’s easy. I just ask the clerk what their favourite is and have that. I decide to try the same tactic here. The waitress looks like a young Courtney Love.

“What would you like.”

“I don’t know … erm …” I say unimpressively. “What would you have.”

“I ate before I came out.” She says. Equally unimpressive I suppose.

What’s wrong the food she’s actually serving?

“Well, what would you have?”

“I like the tagliatelli.”

“I’ll have that.”

“You will.”



She goes away and spoons some of the pasta into a bowl and throws it into the microwave for re-heating/warming up.
“Lot of responsibility.” She smiles as approaches again, “Anything else?”

”Bread and butter and a glass of water.”

“You can get water from the end of the bar …” She cocks her head towards the next room. She turns and turns again, placing a bread roll and butter on the counter.

I pay. She brings the pasta. There are whole mushrooms about the edges.

I go to the bar, and realise I can balance a bottle of Rolling Rock on the tray I’m carrying now. I take a glass with it.

‘The Everyman Bistro’ infamously has ‘The Third Room’, a space for functions and concert. Open Mike Poetry, Jazz and Beat nights have all crowded into this space. It was the place an infamous meeting happened when I was taking acting classes. I’ll tell that story at a later date. It wasn’t pretty.

Nothing tonight. As usual in comparison to ‘The First Room’ and ‘The Second Room’ it’s quite empty. It still takes me a while to choose a table to sit at. I’m very choosy. I’m also trying to avoid the updraft from the tables with smokers on. For some reason I don’t feel the rotten loneliness I usually have if I eat in a fast food restaurant. Perhaps it’s the music, or that I can still here constant chatter. It could be ‘The Guide’ I’ve saved all say from the morning newspaper. Charlie Booker is still riffing about ‘24’.

The pasta is gorgeous as expected. That taste which only wine bar food has – sophisticated, but not as nice as you have at home. Food is always nicer when you cook it yourself (or your Mum or Dad does). The whole mushrooms are perfect.

I notice that someone I used to work with has entered on the other side of the room. I like Joseph. He’s shy but not quiet, intelligent without arrogance. He’s also with someone and I’m not in the mood for the awkward conversation (“How are you? Where are you going? Why haven’t you been in touch?).

Chris arrives as I finish my pasta. I take the tray with the dirty plates back to the food kitchen. I tell the waitress that it was a good choice. She still looks burmused that anyone would trust her to order for them. I order a scone. There is no cream, but strawberry jam.

Back at the table I tell Chris all about my trip to Southend, all of the things I’m afraid to write here. He tells me about his band’s search for a new drummer, and good story I might pass on if he give me permission. Time marches on, and I’ve taken half and hour to eat my scone.

We head across Harman Street to ‘The Pilgrim’, which is full as usual. It isn’t a large space and yet there is room for a ‘big screen’ showing boxing, perhaps in keeping, the jukebox a blearing out dance music. I decide to calm the mood:

‘I Love Your Smile’ – Shanice

‘Wonderful World’ – Louise Armstrong

‘Song for Whoever’ – The Beautiful South

Chris choosing something metal with features Marianne Faithful on guest vocals. He could probably tell you what this was if you asked him.

We gossip about friends, about relationships. Time passes. I watch a forgone conclusion as the man who now has a fruit bowl for a face loses to a man you hasn’t broken into a sweat in the boxing. I remind myself for a moment that this is one of the sports I’ll be covering at The Commonwealth Games. I wince.

We leave there and head on into town. Chris tells me it’s my turn to choose where we could be going. I decide on ‘The Swan’ (more of which later) but find myself distracted by somewhere else in a basement, ‘Fresa’, which on the site of the never fable Olivia’s Wine Bar, where Chris and I memorably visited late one night only to find ourselves witness the club DJ being given the kind of massage you would usually find on ‘Men and Motors’ late at night.

I gingerly step down into the depths, Chris close behind. I nearly slip on the step.

As we enter, the place hasn’t changed. Chris doesn’t want to stay but I’m in an ironic mood and talk him around, and besides it’s my round. He creeps off to the toilet.

When he returns I’m sitting gingerly in the corner of the very small dance floor. The seats seem to have been designed with very small people in mind. We perch.

Its 10pm and the place is empty. We look about furtively, nervously as geometric shapes are projected onto the walls and the worst dance music known to man. This was not our place.

This was not anyone’s place.

Chris breaks the ice. He says it reminds him of the club in Brookside. We laugh for the next twenty minutes until we know we have to leave.

The DJ enters carrying his turntables. He looks depressed. This was not the man who conducted relations with his girlfriend here not that long ago.

We leave.

We go to ‘The Swan’. Nowhere is more different. This is a biker bar. It’s the sort of place which everyone has been to once. We used to be regulars. Things have changed. The crappy old bacolite TV with the bad reception in the corner has been replaced with a widescreen model playing ‘Kerrang TV’ which as usual in these situations is playing videos which don’t match the music in the pub.

Startling moment as Marilyn Manson’s new video plays on the television, whilst underneath a lookalike sits chatting to a computer scientist (I decide).

By now, Chris and I are talking about previous nights we’ve been out and Star Wars. Chris decides he wants to go to ‘The Krazy House’ after all.

Chris hasn’t been back here for some time. This is a momentous occasion.

He joins the queue. I go to the nearest cash machine to get the obvious. I wonder why a hundred people are lining up at the ATM outside when I just slide my card in the front door and walk through to the machines inside. It’s warmer, but there are cameras. Are they trying to hide something?

I’d forgotten how different Saturday night in Liverpool is. How even though there is a chill so many people are wearing very few clothes. How the girls seem as tough as the lads. I shiver, and not because of the cold.

For the first time ever, we’re searched as we go in and told we can’t use our mobile phones. We can’t work out why but obey the house rules.

The club has three floors. The first, the original club plays extremely heavy metal/grindcore/goth music. Loud enough to make your eardrums pop. The second floor has become a nostalgia floor, a free for all for anything before last year some time. The third floor’s appetite is for nu-punk and nu-metal. We end up here.

Everything is 2 for 1 and the weekend. I manage to muddle through at the bar. How do you order two bottles of Rolling Rock without ending up with four?

We sit on the edge of the floor. Oddly for 11pm, the place is empty. I come here to dance but the floor is empty. I don’t want to go there and feel self-conscious.

Chris is unimpressed by this new floor. He is slightly more impressed by the second which is playing all the music we used to hear when we came originally. Yes much of it is crap (‘Smooth Criminal’ Alien Ant Farm) but at least it’s music we’ve heard of. It’s busy here so we dance some.

It’s only then as I look around I realise that for the first time here I feel a bit out of place. Whenever I looked around before I saw my fellow music fans out for a could time. This time I saw teenagers. Lots of them. Wearing hipper clothes than me. Who knew all of the music being played. I suddenly felt, very, very old.

I didn’t tell Chris that then. He knows now, I suspect.

We leave at about 12:30. I’ve reached the point were I can no longer sustain more beer. I haven’t drunk that much.

The taxi home took a long detour out of town. We curse at the price. I found out later it was because a horrific crash had happened on Hardman Street.

I sleep soundly.

To follow in my busiest weekend in ages: The hangover, British Film, The Commonwealth Games Volunteer Party.

Who? Frodo Baggins as he appeared in the Ralph Bakshi 1978 animated interpretation of 'Lord of the Rings'
Why? It was the week 'Fellowship of the Ring' received its worldwide opening. Wanted to remind everyone this was the second time we'd been there. Although I Iove the new film, it's a shame Peter Jackson hasn't acknowledged the influence the earlier picture had on the work. There are shots in there which appear to have been lifted from the cartoon, particularly the moment when the hobbits hidem from the orc under the roots of the tree.
first appeared 15th December 2001; finally
Film Music Does score music in time travel films occupy it's own genre? Not an easy question to fathom or answer if this article from Film Score Monthly is anything to go by. A well researched piece written by someone who obviously likes his subject, I do wish had stuck to his own judgement and not relied so much on the opinions of others (which suggests he may not have heard all of the scores himself). He also deviates somewhat from the standards of the time travel genre -- 'Field of Dreams' and 'Contact' are stretching things somewhat aren't they?
Sex 'Girls of '64' -- a homage to Commodore 64 games which featured nude women. [Metafilter]
Games One of the funniest things which ever happened to me was being invited at a very tender age was to visit the Ludlow offices of Zzap! 64 magazine. Zzap! was the games magazine which covered Commodore 64 gaming and ran for about a hundred issues. I was expecting a palacial palace, an open plan office heaven in which ideas free-flowed. In the event I found somewhere which looked like a converted bedsit with little room for anything. But I met the reviewers, asked some awkward questions and 'borrowed' some review copies of games.

The magazine ran for another two years before it became clear the C64 was defunct machine.

So I'm extremely pleased to see a small network of websites has sprung up dedicated to that magazine and its contemporaries. For example, former editor, Gordon Houghton is keeping the dream alive with a brand new issue of the magazine in which group of his mates get together to recreate some of the magic. Zzap! 64 issue 107 is wonderfully authentic and actually features new news, like the fact Jeff Minter is back. Elsewhere, we have The Def Guide to Zzap! 64 which features some scanned back issues and Zzap! Back which addresses the history of the magazine just prior to my visit. [Google]
Blog! Christy at PuppyShine has been reminded that some dates will never go away. For the rest of my life I'll remember which date I saw 'Bullet' and half of the Drew Barrymore film 'Ever After'; that I took my first day off sick from my current job.
Nature It comes as no surprise to find that animals can treat themselves. My Auntie's dog was forever eating the lawn, we thought at the time because it was mad -- but it was more lifely looking for roughage to yak-through the dog-junk-food we were feeding it. Sadly the evidence in this artice from 'The Economist' (of all things) is inconclusive.
TV The Banzai Queen Mum Hearse Speed-Cam incident was (insert opinion here). So it comes as something of a surprise that a show which parodies Japanese televsion has been sold to Japanese television. Wax-on wax-off. Wax-on wax-off.
Logo I've always seen this painting by Edward Hopper as being a demonstration of the three types of people there are in life. There is they couple, who as far I can tell aren't married, are still at the strat of their relationship, drink in a coffee shop, possibly deciding who's apartment they'll be going to that night. Then there is the singlr guy; I can't decide whether he's finished his relationship and is trying to capture that moment that his friend at the bar is experiencing, or if he's ever been there at all. There is man in the white overalls, who judging by his age has spent most of his life standing in that spot serving coffee to both types of people. Which one is most content? I'm sure whichever one you pick gets to the centre of who you are as a person. I'll let you guess who I think it is...