Art In case you're wondering I haven't gone mad (although lord knows I should). I visited the bit of the Liverpool Biennale which is at the Blue Coat Chambers in Liverpool, and this is where I had my tenting experience. It felt like 'The League of Gentlemen' crossed with 'The Blair Witch Project'.
TV My neglected OnDigital box will soon have a few more channels to play about with, now that 'FreeView' tv has announced its launch at the end of the month. Looking at the list, there is a lot of repetition -- all that news and music. Also versions of channels already available on Sky -- so no Mtv but The Music Factory; no UKtv but UKHomeStyle. And no SkyOne at all. Goodness knows what'll be on Ftn (Flextech TV). It's going to be fun finding out. I'll keep you posted. Madness continues as we find out that Chief Operating Officer of BSkyB is called Richard Freudenstein, who presumably creates giant monsters then tries to sort out their serious emotional problems.
Art I'm pissed off. I've got a strong cold, so I can't go out tonight. It's the afternoon, and I'm sitting in tent in the middle of a concert hall. There are five others in here, all with different looks of nausia. Outside, unseen but heard, a man with a strange accent is talking about Aristotle and other fiends. He tells us he's going to play us a tape of hot water coming out of a tap into a pan. He plays the tape. It's loud and it makes me want to go to the toilet. I'm in hell.

Artifacts: Noel's House Party

Crinkley Bottom mug. Merchandise from the Southport theme park connected with Noel Edmunds Saturday night entertainment, 'Noel's House Party'. 50p. Animal Hospice Charity Shop. Picton Road, Liverpool.
Metafilter Best. Mefi. Post. Ever. [via linkmachinego]
TV Nothing in the rest of the series quite bettered the pilot episode of 'South Park'. One of the most insightful lines happened when Kyle was trying to get brother to jump out of a UFO. 'Do your impression of David Coruso's career.' he shouted as the baby went for a dive. Well, Coruso's back, on TV no less, in a spin-off series. Talk about tucking you tail between your legs and returning home. But at least it's a sequel to CSI, set in Miami and featuring Emily Proctor formerly of 'The West Wing'. Nice pedegree. Pop Matters reviews the imaginatively titled 'CSI: Miami' with a compare and contrast, the main point being that's just a facimile not a development.
Film Speaking of which, it says a lot about the status of male stars in Hollywood that Yoda is in the lead at fuali's Celebrity Fight Club ...
Kids Gladys The Travelling Cow learns about The Force: "Gladys woke up one morning and decided she wanted to have a day off from adventures and set off on a walk round the farm. On her walk Gladys met a man named Obi Wan Kenobi. He told Gladys that he was going to a planet called Alderaan and asked if she if she would like to come along. Gladys thought it sounded like fun and agreed."
Travel You must be mad. Syncronised bungie jumping in Mexico City:
"On the platform, the other four men, mere specks in the sky, tie lengths of thick rope around their waists. In unison, the percussive music almost pushing them, the Voladors jump off and fall into the sky above our heads. The audience gives a great collective gasp, their snacks forgotten.
Isn't this the kind of thing which would beef up ITV's Saturday night schedule?
Education I unaccountably failed by English Literature A-Level. Well, I got an 'N' which isn't total abject failure but pretty close. I actually got into university on the strength of my 'B' in Art and 'D' in General Studies. I wasn't a good learner back then. But I can attribute my failure to my inability to take exams. Which is why the news that over a hundred thousand bright, good students may have been affected by the marking fiasco is all the more crushing. The exam boards themselves, despite having these kids futures in their hands are always very dry, talking statics as though the effects don't matter. But they don't seem to be look towards the future effects.

Fictitious hypathetical student Sarah Leopold worked hard for two years but because her English mark was suppressed she couldn't take her first choice at Birmingham or her second choice at Manchester. Because she's certain that once her mark is re-assessed she will have enough to lead the brummie life she takes a year out. Employers can see she's a bright girl so she gets a job doing admin for a shipping company. The job is hard work and largely menial, but it pays OK and she's still living at home so her personal overheads are low. The toruble is sheis out of practice with learning. She tries background reading, but by the time she gets in from work she's really tired and doesn't want to do anything which requires thinking.

Year goes by, she returns to University. It's a three years course and the final mark is based on all the course work done throughout. Because of the break she finds study difficult to get back into. Much of the time she finds herself going through the motions, and the fact that she could have been there a year early, that she feels like she wasted a year keeps playing on her mind. Also most of her course mates are a year younger and sometimes its difficult to mix so her social life suffers. Her job has made her more mature than they are. It's hard for her to relax and it's hard for her to work. She never really gets back into the swing of things and after three years ends up with a lesser degree. So when she gets into the job market, graduates younger than her are leapfrogging for positions. She had hoped that her year working might have stood her in good stead, but becuase of the number of other graduates in a similar position she's no better off. And all because of an A-Level statistician.
Food I've been trying desperately not to link to 'The Guardian'. Sometimes it feels a bit easy. Everything which appears on the G2 page is always inspiring. But I can't help but offer a piece from Stuart Jeffries. I stopped talking to Jeffries some time in the mid-nineties after her wrote a stinging attack on the Alanis Morissette track 'Ironic'. He went into great detail about how unironic the piece actually is (the mearest thought -- I mean how dare he). But after a couple of years I began to read his stuff again and much of the time he's very entertaining. His latest piece is a restaurant review from hell:
"The hunched, poignantly sad-eyed waitress approaches like an Eastern European homage to Julie Walters' Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques. A cocktail perhaps? The laminated cocktail menu comes with handy illustrations. The picture of the Blue Hawaiian makes me remember that I should get some anti-freeze now the nights are drawing in. Perhaps not: something jaunty with an umbrella would only deepen our growing feelings of existential gloom."
I'm sure the review wouldn't be as stinging if the owner was planning on keeping the place open. I've never eaten there, but my Mother says that her and my Father went when they were a young married couple (in the time when as my Dad says "they were fabulous") and Mum ordered some rasberries -- which turned out to be so insipid they put my her off the things for the rest of her life. Now that is bad ...
Time I've just noticed that it's Autumn, and that it's October already. I must have missed the planning meeting. Because I largely try to let life wash over me, I'm constantly surprised when I actually notice something. So when I looked down this morning and saw the orange leaves across the pavement and the coats which had appeared about the place I found myself smiling. It's not the passage of time I love, it's the minute beautiful details it throws up to remind me that it's there.
Buffy And I suppose everyone else knew that the soundtrack album to 'Once More With Feeling' was out ...
Museums Something self expanatory: "Staff at the York Dungeon museum of horrors said on Tuesday they are trying to trace a visitor who was accidentally sold a human skull in the museum shop, where the grisly item was used as a prop." [News 24]

Artifacts: The Famous Rainbow Recipe Book.

Compiled by Tony 'Giles from Buffy' Head and Sara Fisher. A galaxy of stars offer their favourite receipes in aid of 'The Rainbow Centre'. £1.00. The Works. Arndale Centre, Manchester.

Here's a close-up of Tony's haircut:

And his recipe:

Students Finally, a quick link to a piece at The Spectator about flat sharing. Mostly generic stuff, but amusing all the same.
Sculpture I've been to a few of Richard Serra's exhibitions about the place and I've always been impressed by the scale of the work. He creates pieces which are meant to be interacted with physically, usually by walking side them. He'll create a giant spiral steel wall and you'll find yourself lost in the colours and shapes:
"I built a piece for Jasper Johns, about 1970, with a small plate that I was using as a template to splash against. I placed the plate in the corner and realized that it was freestanding. Then I took a single 8-by-24-foot plate and just let it bisect the corner of a room (Strike, 1971), which divided and declared the space. You had to walk around the room to see the piece. You could not separate the perception of the piece from its site or, in a more general sense, from the continuum of space."
These are alien enviroments with in gallery spaces without special effects. [Interview in Sculpture Magazine]
Obituary Hear'say have spilt up (abused?).
Film Jennifer Love Hewitt is one of those actress you sort of like even though you can't think of an even good film she's actually been in, just lot's of really bad ones ('I STILL know what you did last Summer', 'The Audrey Hepburn Story'). CHUD recently met her on one of their junket visits for her new film with Jackie Chan and found themselves talking about her fear of water and her breasts:
"Goddamn, Jennifer Love Hewitt is tiny. You always make the same mistake no matter how many actors you meet and assume they will be somewhere near the height they appear in movies and television (and Rolling Stone spreads), but then they turn out to be just as tiny as every other young actress you've ever met. So, when Hewitt walked into the junket room offering around M&M's, I was, again, a little surprised."
I am willing her to pick a good project but she just keeps missing the target.
Education One of the long list of reasons I gave up commuting to Manchester was that I missed the night school courses at the University. I've worked my through most of the creative ones towards a certificate, but I just wanted to go back for fun -- try some of the course a bit further off my radar. This terms course of choice 'An introduction to musics of the world' is well an explaination of world music. In other words, I'm hoping that in ten weeks I'll actually be able to listen to Late Junction and appreciate the music a bit more. The other fun part of all of these courses has been the people and the co-incidences. Tonight was no exception. I met a girl from Finland who has worked with a girl I'm training with in my new job and lives three doors down from me. And then there was the Greek girl. She came in about halfway through and at the end I had to know. I approach her sheepishly:
Me: You're Greek.
Her: Yes.
Me: I'm Stuart.
Her: Hello.
Me: I've a friend who's Greek.
Her: Have you. What's her name?
Me: Fani Polyzoi.
Her: What's she studying?
Me: Classics?
Her: (long pause) I know her ...
Me: Great. So what's your name?
Her: Athanasia.
Wasn't sure what else to say to be honest ...
Commerce Just a heads up in case anyone missed it. On the windows of the Tesco Metro in Liverpool City Centre and doubtless elsewhere, there are adverts saying that they will take money off vouchers from Sainsbury's and Safeway. This madness is a response to the offers the rival supermarkets have in store ...
Film News site for Kevin Smith's new film 'Jersey Girl'.

It has a bouquet.

Abroad IV Nothing actually prepared me for the immensity of it. I literally turned a corner and there it was looming down upon me. I stopped in my tracks and started laughing and pointing.

'It's the Eiffel Tower.' I kept saying. 'Look everyone … it's the Eiffel Tower.'

Then it struck me. No one else seemed to care the way I did. Parisians ignored it as part of the landscape. Other tourists fiddled with cameras and group shots. But I was the only one standing there just looking at it, my eyes tracing the lines of the structure trying to work out the construction, trying to imagine how something like that could ever come into being.

It was an almost religious experience. This was the first time I understood I was going to fulfill another of my ambitions in the space of twelve months. This thing I'd always been looking forward to in the back of my mind, this image which I'd been seeing for twenty-seven years was here in front of me. And I was going up it. Right to the top. Madness. I stopped again, still trying to take it in.

'It's the Eiffel Tower.' I kept saying. 'The Eiffel Tower.' (I take my monuments very seriously)

My hands shook as I handed over my first Euros to pay for my ticket.

'To the top.' I said.

The clerk printed a ticket, matter of factly and handed it over. It was a paper and printed. Like Charlie when he won a chance to go to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, I wanted my ticket to be made of gold.

The trip up the tower was everything I expected. Tiny lift filled with tourist chatter. By now my initial shock had died down and I became curious as to what I'd find up there. I stopped halfway up for a picture. Then began the wait for the list to the summit. This is a twisty windy metal queuing system. The entire time the couple in front are French kissing like mad. They don't care. I don't care either. This everything I thought Paris would be about. A group of Japanese tourists don't have tickets and fight there way backwards through the crowd. Every tuts. A man passes by wearing a sweatshirt with a New York Fire Department logo on it, reminding me the anniversary isn't too far away.

Looking at Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower just made me curious. This is a massive city, but it's also a very green city. Between the ancient architecture are tree after tree. The tower itself is surrounded by a massive park. I just kept plodding around, avoiding the people and taking photographs. I was still in a fantasy world. I used a whole camera film because in some ways I didn't know what else to do.
And then I decide there is only one thing for it.

I should interject here and say that I hadn't told anyone I was going to Paris apart from my parents. I went out with all my friends two nights before and didn't mention it at all. Only one reason. I wanted to surprise my friend Chris with a postcard and I knew what I wanted to write on the back. As I've mentioned previously, one of my top ten television moments is the time Tom Baker and Lalla Ward were up there. The scene was written by Douglas Adams and I always thought it would be fun to actually stand on the spot and imagine what had gone on between takes at Baker and Ward fell in love (they married not that long after - but time is relative). So the night before I went to Paris I transcribed the piece, so that when I sent my postcard I could include the scene on the back of the postcard. So I had the scene in my pocket.

I got it out. I started to read. Out loud.

(THE DOCTOR and his companion ROMANA stand on the top of the Eifel Tower in Paris looking down at view below.)

Doctor : Nice isn't it?
Romana : Yes, marvellous.
Doctor : Marvellous, absolutely.
Romana : Absolutely marvellous.
Doctor : Well I think it's marvellous.
Romana : So do I. Though it's not quite as you described it.
Doctor : Really? How did I describe it?
Romana : You said it was nice!
Doctor : It's the only place in the world where onecan relax entirely.
Romana : Mmm! That bouquet!
Doctor : What Paris has... It has an ethos. It has a life. A.....
Romana : A bouquet?
Doctor : A spirit all of its own. Like a white wine, it has...
Romana : A bouquet?
Doctor : It has a bouquet. Yes. Like a good wine. You'd have to choose one of vintage years of course.
Romana : What year is this?
Doctor : Ah well, yes. It's 1979 actually. More of a table wine shall we say? Hah! The randomiser’s a useful device but it lacks true discrimination. Should we sip it and see?
Romana : Ooh! I'd be delighted. Shall we take the lift or fly?
Doctor : Lets not be ostentatious.
Romana : Alright. Lets fly then.
Doctor : That would look silly. We'll take the lift. Come on.
[full script here]

My Tom Baker impression is only serviceable. Imagine John Calshaw the impressionist with a cold. My Lalla Ward is non-existent. So I didn't read it that loudly – also for embarrassments sake.
When I’d finished, an American turns to me.
‘Are you sermonizing?’
‘No.’ I say.
‘What was that?’
‘Erm …’ I say. ‘Did you ever see Doctor Who?’ And I end up telling him the whole story. About Tom and Lalla. About how it was filmed just were he was standing. He asks for a photo. I get one to. Then he totters off his wife close behind.
‘What was that about Bob?’ She’s asking.

I took in the view a bit more and then head downstairs. I have a coffee and chocolate waffle in the cafĂ© and write Chris’ postcard. I write another to my parents, dabbing it in the chocolate drips on the table. There is a post office on the tower. I send it there. A Euro for the two. In all I probably spent about two and a half hours up there, but it felt like years. This felt like Christmas Afternoon. All of that build up and it's over in minutes. I might go up the tower again, but it won't be my first time.

I look over at the Arc de Triumphe.
'You're next.' I say.
I start to queue for the lift down. From behind an American voice can be heard.
‘Oooh look Mary – it’s Doctor Who….’
Blog! Michelle at Demerol signed my guest book today and said some nice things. Her sight is an emotionally charged place and obviously work a visit. Particularly love these animated gifs, 360 degree cat swings around all the rooms in her department.