Life Just in case anyone is wondering ... I was a poll clerk at the local council elections. Not much to talk about you'll be pleased to know. Sat in a room for (almost) thirteen hours crossing people off a list. Enjoy the poem, say goodbye to John and I'll be back soon...
Obituary John Nathan-Turner is dead.
Art Poem

A director strokes his beard,
then points out towards the set.
A daughter hugs her father,
warming him as he sings the blues.
A student practices her violin,
the beauty vibrating from the wood.
An old painter talks of his landscapes,
and much different they are from 'work nowadays'.
A hippy replaces his shades.

A pop-singer offers her
interviewer an ice-cream.
A fallen silent-movie star,
weeps over her lost career.
A sculptor finishes a final latitude
in his copy of the world.
An architect relaxes
with a newspaper and wine.
A girl turns in the icy cold,
breathes, and inspires an artist.
TV It's ironic that on the day Matt Groening decided that 'The Simpsons' might not go on forever, Off The Telly would publish a group of articles dedicated to the animated family. I'll hold my hand up and say I've been that much of a fan, but I think that's more to do with being unable to get to grips with the scheduling. As usual from ott, this is a high quality piece, which even suggests what it feels to be the worst episodes. Yes, fans, apparently there were some:
"This is simply self-indulgent and insulting to the audience - the writers are saying, "Only an idiot doesn't like this." Furthermore, Barney acts completely out of character, given that he's previously shown no remorse for his present state at all. What also rankles is that Homer is painted as the villain for refusing to vote for his film, when in every other episode he'd been Barney's best friend but here he acts as if he's never met him before. And since when has everyone else liked Barney anyway?"
I must be the only person in the world who thought that Futurama was a much sharper show. But the good ones always get cancelled ....
Fun But not before I point you in the direction of this. See you in a few days ...
Blog! OK, that's it. I'm throwing in the towel. No more weblogging for me. I'm going to retire to the gills, become a hermit and talk to the trees for the rest of my life. What's the point in writing any further when I know that something like VerseGuru is flying around. The opening page signals something different -- a reproduction of an ancient science book, edited to become the navigation for the site. Find the weblog and I find something which references many of the things I do, but with many more exclaimation marks and subtlety (see if you can find the Hitchhiker's homage in the sidebar). And it has it's own radio station. That's it. No more. Goodbye.
Music The Sugababes are finally at number one, albeit with a song which covers two others at the same time. Long term readers will know I've been following their progress with great interest (see the first week). But it really is a fabulous piece, and the new member, Heidi Range. has just the right attitude ... even though she is another refugee from Atomic Kitten (two mentions to go ... and you thought I'd forgotten).
Literature Joseph Epstein probably thinks he's the funniest man alive. You decide. Personally, I think I'd want to punch him eventually.
Film I'm quite looking forward to the new film version of 'The Importance of Being Ernest'. Yes, it's a Miramax film, but the director's previous films 'Othello' and 'An Ideal Husband' were extremely watchable and brought excitement to their sources without resorting the setting them in 'modern times'. And who else but Judi Dench could possibly play Lady Bracknell in this day and age. 'A Handbag?' Even if the synopsis at the official site completely fails to mention her.
Feminism Ms. magazine have uploaded some of the most iconic articles to celebrate their publishing anniversary. Starkly, they prove how little in some respects world has actually changed over the past few decades. This article in particular could have been published in a broadsheet last week (give or take some pricing). It's about the labour trade in third world, and the issues dicussed and examples given demonstrate that the anti-globalisation wing of the May Day protestors may have had a case all along:
"Crudely put ... the relationship between many Third World governments and the multinational corporations is not very different from the relationship between a pimp and his customers. The governments advertise their women, sell them, and keep them in line for the multinational "johns."
Times have moved on. The piece complains that despite all of this, people are not protesting. They are now, even though you fear it might not be working ...
TV The Guardian's review of Channel 4's new breakfast show RI:SE captures most of the feelings I had watching the last half an hour this morning:
Maybe these more serious news items will sit easier alongside RI:SE's main showbiz and sport agenda once the show gets into its stride. If not, the producers may have to go back to the Big Breakfast model and limit serious news to the bulletins. Having the news woven into the general format appeared flawed, especially on a day when little was happening.
One serious problem is a lack of chemistry between the presenters. Actually it's just one presenter, Mark Durden-Smith, who seemed to think he was Johnny Vaugan, and just kept interrupting the other presents or ruining links by failing to say anything witty. I kept trying to work out who he reminded me of ... and then they showed some footage of Jeremy Bowen at the end. I'm will to give this one some time to develop. With a few replacement presenters this might work. As Ian Jones says at Off The Telly:
"...the presenters' efforts to fulfil this ambitious brief made their conversations all the more mannered and exaggerated - "You've got a crumb on your face" marking a new low in presenter continuity. Throughout the entire show no attention or respect was paid to the viewers; the team were far too busy talking to each other, joylessly. No amount of theorising and explanation can overlook the fact that this kind of behaviour on television is and always will be simply downright rude."
Commerce Approach the desk in the Manchester Deansgate 'Waterstones'.
'Have you got any copies of 'The Pocket Essential Guide to Stephen Soderbergh?'
Clerk looks at computer screen for a moment. Looks back up at me.
'I don't know. What's it called?'
Obituary ITV Digital is dead. [Metafilter]
TV As Frasier might say, 'Oh Dear Gaad!':
"THE name says it all: Hook, Line and Stiletto. Three models are about to step into Rex Hunt territory and host an adventurous new fishing television show - clad in nothing but bikinis. Former ABC reporter turned Postcards host Fiona Argyle, pin-up girl Annalise Braakensiek and Sports Illustrated's Kate James are hosting their own fishing show, described as "Baywatch meets Rex Hunt". Argyle, who caused a stir two years ago by posing for men's magazine FHM, while still working for the ABC, is the creator, host and producer of the show through her company, Takeoff TV. "It's a male-skewed lifestyle show," she told The Australian. "But women love it too. We're 52 per cent of the population and we're tired of being left at home while the boys go fishing."
[, The Age]
Blog! Sometimes you can't help but simply like the feel of a weblog. The simple design of Barbie's work draws you below the surface to find the kind of writing I've always tried to create here (well, up until last week). Teasing -- the details of the actual person to be found in that space between the lines:
"So you want to know why a cure for cancer and AIDS hasn't been found yet? The world is too damn busy putting chicken eggs in spacesuits and soaring them around the earth a couple of times. You know, just to see if it fucks them up. Is it safe to say that human beings are just a tad bit disappointing?"
I could agree more. Especially when I see things like this.
TV Bye bye SeeThru. It's a shame that the site is closing now that the television 'masterpiece' which spawned it has gone. I think I said everything I'd need to say on the subject in this Metatalk thread.
Blog! ?
Life After last week's little experiment (I spoke to Chris last night. He wanted to know if I'd taken notes during our night out), I feel like, as Henry Kelly would say in 'Going for Gold' -- 'I'm playing catch up'.

Christopher Price's death was a real surprise to everyone. What is particularly moving is how Chris was just on the cusp of moving from being a cult presence amonst celebrities to household name. The tribute show in particular demonstrated how instantly witty he was. Sadly missable. In this case, Dale Winton is no kind of substitute.

Equally shocking was the passing of Lisa Lopes. It's her left eye which graces the logo bar this week. Ironically I was listening to 'No Scrubs' on a self-made compilation when I heard the news and just kept looking at my stereo. I was never really a huge fan, but I respected her music. Again she was someone who still had a lot to offer the world, and not necessarily in music. Part of the trip, during which died, was charity work. There may be more to this story than meets the eye, however.

[Update, 3/5/2002. This post led to someone typing this Disturbing Search Request into Google and finding my site. Then people started clicking through from DSR and I've had four hundred and fifty hits today. I hope some of you stick around, and enjoy the site for the right reasons. If you are actually looking for the subject of that search, as I've said before, Nothing to see here. And there's no point emailing either. If I haven't posted them, do you think I'd reply to an email asking for them?]

ITV Digital's fortunes haven't increased, although it's amusing that Microsoft are circling. I would like a definitive answer as to whether we are going to be keeping the digital box. One by-product of the pay channels being switched off might be an increase in BBC4's ratings. C'mon George, show some muscle when it counts, buddy.

I went to Starbucks the other day. As you know, I work in Manchester. In Liverpool we get by with only two Starbucks. But Manchester seems to have hundreds. Trouble is when I'm in line I squint at the menu and simply can't decide what to have, so by the time I get the counter I panic ... and ask the clerk what they're favourite flavour is ... and just have that.
So it's lunch time from the job I can't mention the other day and I'm there again. The girl clerk waits patiently before I say:
"Oh I don't know err ... what would you have?"
"Well I'd have a hot chocolate ... so ..."

"Come on. They all taste the same."
"You're not suppose to say that."
"OK ... we at Starbucks offer a whole range of flavours to suite all tastes."
"Well do you want something sweet or bitter?"
"Sweet." I answer definately.
"Well there is ... mumble .... mumble .... mumble .... something with caramel." People who work in coffeehouses have their own language. They should hire translators. I try and jump in...
"That sounds nice. I'll have that."
"Which one?"
"Oh .. the first one ..."
"Large or small."
"Small. I'm not going to be here long."
I pay and join the queue. The business couple who came in after me are served their Lattes first.
Girl clerk: "Yours is a work of art so it'll just take a little bit longer."
A boy clerk is working on my order. He looks like a mad scientist putting parts on a new machine as he pours syrups and milks together.
Two minutes later a mug arrives in the centre of the counter. The boy clerks throw his hands in the air in victory.

"Taa daa." He shouts.
I find myself clapping slightly.
I sip the coffee. It tastes like a little piece of heaven.
Who knew just ordering a coffee could be so much fun?

Site News The Blog! Archive has been updated.
Blogger Insider Stacey asks:

earliest memory?
I remember being two years old and sitting in a paddling pool in my back garden with a rubber duck. It was a blistering hot day.

any regrets?
My time at University. Now actually going to University – taking your education to the highest level it can go is extremely important, especially now. But how I spent time there. Whenever I was supposed to be having fun I was reading and studying – I never really struck that balance. It bothers me sometimes (although I don’t obsess over this) that I might not have been the most fun person to get on with a university. You eventually find that if you say no to invites out enough times, the invites dry up when you really need them. I find it easier now to strike a balance.

what's your poison?
I can’t drink. One Bud or Rolling Rock is enough to get me slightly pissed. Drink three and I’ll be laughing like an idiot.

something you refuse to eat
Liver. And chalk.

what kind/color underwear are you wearing right now?
Deep Purple. No really.

favourite karaoke number?
‘By The Sea’ from Roosta … let’s see … ahem … ‘By the Sea, By the Sea, Is where I wanna beeeee … By the Sea, By the Sea, Is where I wanna Seeeend mee awaaaay … don’t seeend me awaahahey.’

how many licks to the center of a tootsie roll?
I think they’re like our Cadbury’s Chocolate Éclair, in which case I tend to be a biter.

tootsie pop?
Sorry … you have me there …

how many dates before a goodnight kiss?
I don’t think there is a formula. I think if the moment is there, you just know.

worst haircut you ever had?
Wearing it. In my job I haven’t got time to go to the barbers more than once every three months, so I tend to get it cut really short … which makes me look like a doorman. Sorry mate … you’re not coming in … and so forth.

most disgusting habit
I pick my nose. I know.

most adventurous thing you've ever done
‘I once went to the cinema and I didn’t know what I was going to see.’ Is the funniest answer I ever heard for that question. I’m wracking my brain but I can’t think of anything in particular because I’ve a try anything character. So I’ve never jumped out of a plane or wrestled an alligator. [related]

something about you you wouldn't want your parents to know
If told you, I’d have to kill you. Although actually I’ve good relationship with my parents so that I don’t have to keep too many secrets. I don’t tell them everything, but the really personal stuff I don’t tell anyone. I don’t think I’ve ever told them about the fake palm-reading. My Mum might not like that