An angels gets its wings ...

People Jimmy Stewart. 'It's a Wonderful Life'. On again. There is an article about here:
"It's a Wonderful Life does, in fact, exhibit tell-tale symptoms of a belated liberal populism of the 1930s, whether or not the Committee knew that Clifford Odets and Dalton Trumbo, among others, had worked on the screenplay. Stewart here plays George Bailey, a banker who succeeds his father as head of a benevolent mortgage company that alone keeps the town of Bedford Falls out of the grip of the property and lending monopolies of Mr Potter, the evil tycoon played by Lionel Barrymore. One of Bailey's projects is a co-operative low-income housing development for working-class families; Potter's wish to eradicate that symbol of collective hope is a significant strand of the plot. Stewart, whose politics were conservative, never failed to cite George Bailey as the part in which he took the most pride, and the film's box-office failure, which he put down to the insipid postwar taste for nerveless domestic comedies, rankled with him to his last days."

Updated: 16/12/2006 Happy Christmas Metafilter readers. Whilst you're here, you might like to take a look at Review 2006, which is the blog's big event this year (and even contribute a question -- you'll see what I mean).
TV A bit random, but in what year is ‘Dawson’s Creek’ set? The first season began in the Spring 1998 in the US as mid-season replacement and ran for thirteen episodes and seemed to cover the winter term (Halloween included) of a school year. So was that the previous winter term or the one coming up. This wasn’t really answered when the second season ran through the Fall 1998 – 1999 season, but unlike other UStv shows (which run the breadth of the Autumn, Winter and Spring) just picked up the story from moments after the end of the first season, and takes us up to the end of the year, until the beginning of the Summer. Without a wiff of Christmas or Easter. Then Season Three picked things up at the beginning of the new school year. Now does this mean that Season One was set in the future or that we are behind a year (which references such as a Saving Private Ryan poster would contradict). Someone’s lost a year somewhere – leading the other question about how old the characters are . . . and in the episode were Dawson & Joey are accepted into college, it’s apparently for the fall 2001. Let's see ... official website ... erm ... oh no they actually have a page devoted to this, which comes to the conclusion that they don't bloody know either. I suppose I should just suspend my disbelief ...
Music And so to another poll. To celebrate seveny years of broadcasting, The BBC World Service held a poll to find the world's greatest tune. Looking across the top ten, you can truly elieve the world has gone mad. The number one tune is folk song about Irish nationalism. The top pop song on the list is Cher's 'Believe'. 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen is at number ten ('Wayne's World' was ten years ago you know ...) Much of the rest are from the soundtracks of a number of Bollywood films. 55% of visitors to the website think this accurately reflects the state of music globally. No wonder Pete Waterman wants to commit suicide.
Chanukah When I was at school a number of my friends didn't celebrate Christmas -- they were Muslim or Jehovah's Witnesses or Jewish. December must have been really difficult for them, especially around here. And every year without fail I would give them a Christmas card. I think now they understood, and I understood that I wasn't doing it out of an expectation of anything in return, it about saying you're just as important to me as all my 'Christian' friends at this time of year. Eventually it did become difficult, so I just told them I would have got them a card, and had thought of them, and that was enough.

Looking back now I'm amazed at how gracious they were about it, especially considering how precious they were about their own religion, and the upholding of theireliefs were to them. I suppose part of me wondered if they were actually like Derek Powazek ...
"Growing up as one of a few Jews in our little town made December a month of hell for me. Oh sure, I got my presents, too. For Chanukah. But I also got back in touch with my outsider status. Every store downtown, every song on the radio, everywhere I looked I had yet another reminder that I was not a part of the majority. And every year in school I got to give a little presentation to the class about Chanukah.

"Class, this is Derek. He's not like you and me. He celebrates Chan ... Chan.... How do you say it again, Derek?"

I still remember being about 5 years old and not understanding why we didn't have a Christmas tree. My mother tried to explain it to me, but I wouldn't listen. I wanted to be like all my friends.
It's difficult to think of my life without Christmas. See above.
Christmas Work broke up for the seasonal break yesterday ... for some of us at least. One question which kept being asked was: "What are you doing for Christmas?" I always had the same answer. "Christmas." I knew what they meant -- will you being going anywhere / meeting anyone? Everyone seemed to be rushing around, in fact doing all the things they do all year anyway -- for example going out for a late night drinking session in town on Christmas Eve. Which is fine for them, it's what they enjoy. It's just at this time of year the spiritual part of me takes over somewhat. You'll know I'm not that religious so it really hasn't anything to do with some deeper significance involving the messiah or whatever. Christmas for me as about family. Friends. It's about doing all the things you haven't been able to do all year for each other, either because circumstances don't permit, or you haven't the 'it'. The one time of the year that every shuts down. The one day when there is little traffic on the roads, the shops are closed, people can if they want to, let everything stop.
Books Unusual article from Brian Francis Donohue of the Literary Traveller, which demostrates the pitfalls of following in Ernest Hemmingway's footstep when you're not Michael Palin. Here he is trying to see Gregorio Fuentes, the former captain of Hemingway's yacht, "El Pilar":
"Here I stand, on the front porch of literary legend, the Babe Ruth of fishermen, the single most influential fictional character of my life. The door opens a crack and onto the porch steps a man in his mid 40's, a blue and white guayabera unbuttoned to his belly. I let my tout ask if we can see the old man.
"Fifteen dollars,'' he replies.
I hadn't planned on paying an admission fee to meet my humble old fisherman. This was a pilgrimage, not a trip to Six Flags. I haggle. I'm a journalist, I tell him. A fan, a fellow fisherman, an admirer. I wrack my brain for the Spanish word for "idol". Finally, he lets me in for ten dollars."
Of course my version of this was paying eight pounds to go up the Eiffel Tower. Sometimes, life long dreams are worth paying that little bit extra for.
Mefi Metafilter's visitors now have the ability to change the post timings to relate to the time zone they're from. So suddenly, I can tell that the last post was at 7pm tonight without having to try and do some maths. And everyone will see their own. There is also a New York post filter for the site.
www The phenomina of online soap operas seems to have been superceded by the real life meandering of us webloggers. Before this kind of updating became a valid proposition though, people (well me) flocked to sites like 'The Spot' were actors and actresses, employed much as they would in real soaps would be shown to interacting, their fictional lives rolling out over many weeks. In some cases, emails were answered 'in-person' (which I can only imagine led to some bozzos thinking that this was real).

As I said, I thought they had died down, but judging by this page I was very much mistaken. Unlike 'The Spot' which was a commercial effort, most seem to be amateur works, and it has to be said are an acquired taste. 'Cordial Deception' is set in the fictional town of Parker's Peek, near Boston and featuring an all star cast (Harrison Ford! Kristen Scott Thomas! Christian Bale!)
"Bryce attempted to form words, by they died on his lips. He had nothing left to say to her -- not until he knew the truth. Not until he knew whether or not Krista was pregnant. He stared breathlessly at her, watching her once-enticing form rise from the couch and walk across the living room. She stopped, still silent, about two steps away from him.


The question burned in his mind, and though her expression showed almost nothing of what she might have been thinking, his thoughts couldn't help but settle on the conclusion that something was wrong.
See, I can tell you're hooked. This is the stuff of Sunset Beach, not Eastenders. There seem to be gaps for another two episodes here, but no updates in months. Yet another cancelled show?
Buffy What again? This weblog used be about fine art and books and stuff. I know. It's just that my favourite websites have all quietly closed or stopped updating, so I've got to fill up this column with something. Anyway, reason I posted ... for anyone interested, BBC Two will be showing the extended cut of 'Once More With Feeling' this evening at five to one ... this piece at the Cult website sort of explains why this didn't appear last night, and neatly suggests the rampant flouting of copyright law (" drink plenty of coffee to stay awake or set your video recorders in good time....")

Music Fame Academy's Sinead signs to Mercury, first single out February ...
Rings I believe some film with Hobbits and stuff is opening tonight (oh who am I kidding it's the only film I've wanted to see all year). The critics have been universal in their praise (to be honest I've never seen anything like it). There is a single dissenting voice, one Victoria Alexander of For all I know the film could be "about real estate". When I was leaving 'Fellowship of the Ring' last year I overheard someone say to their friend, "Well that was crap, it had no ending ..." This is the review for them:
Sometimes directors have screen alter-egos and here director Peter Jackson obviously favors Gimli. He has more screen time and close-ups then The Ring, Frodo, and Aragorn combined. He's also the comic relief. My favorite character, Legolas, who I had hoped to see more of, just trails behind Aragorn on the long, forced march. Frodo spends a lot of time walking through the woods as a minor character. Sam gives a speech. Gandalf, a clever and formidable personality in FELLOWSHIP, is a secondary, one-dimensional character here. The charm of his scenes with Bilbo are gone as he becomes a white-robed, haloed wizard.
Almost as a disclaimer to try and explain why Miss Alexander is flying so deeply against critical opinion, the Rotten Tomatoes reproduction of the review adds, "ADVISORY: Victoria Alexander is not an LOTR historian..." Yeah, 'cause that's important when you're writing a film review. I'm planning on seeing the thing on my shopping trip to Manchester just after Christmas and I'll let you know what I think then ...
Film Whenever I try to put together a film top twenty (never an easy task) I always seem to end up including 'Strange Days' the spinning big city adventure set days before the new millenium. The fascinating article at 24fps gives a full synopsis and carefully describes all of the reasons I love it so much:
“Strange Days” is infected throughout with YK2 psychosis and this apocalyptic “euphoria” at the end-of-the-century party provides a narrative of politico-radical tensions, exacerbations and questionings. A film which disorientates and distances the gaze of spectatorial identifications and representations, simultaneously, accommodates a neo-Marxist critique of late-capitalist pomo-distillation and disintegration. The neo-noiresque mise-en-scene provides a panorama of techno-furious culture, enhanced, encased and endangered within its own techno-euphoria. Mind, memory and matter meld in a set of discursive patterns of techno-postmodern angst.
Couldn't have said that better myself. I do love films which feature downtrodden figures set against a scaperscape which dwarfs them trying to fight the crushing hugeness of it all. It also features the best extrapolation of the nest step in camcorder technology, although the empathic part of the process is some way off yet ...
Film For the interested (I think there are at least three of you, I just got the following email from FACT:
"OPENING DATE CONFIRMED: The UK¹s newest centre for film, art and creative technology, FACT, opens to the public on 22 February 2003. It's been seven years in the making. It cost £10m to develop, build and equip. It's the first purpose-built arts project in Liverpool for over 60 years and it¹s opening in the New Year!

We can now reveal FACT's opening shows will include Isaac Julien's specially commissioned film installation, Baltimore (Baadasssss Cinema Part 2), Alex Cox's Revengers Tragedy, - a film shot on location in Liverpool ­ and in the Media Lounge - a curated space for internet and media art - shows featuring artists including Last.FM, Mongrel and Graham Harwood. There are a whole host of screenings and events to mark this milestone in Liverpool¹s cultural development so stay in touch and we¹ll keep you informed!
It's good to see the place opening with a 'Liverpool' film. One of the more annoying aspects of filmgoing here, is that movies made are very rarely actually shown here. The biggest tragedy was 'Hilary and Jackie', filmed at St. George's Hall, but never shown at the cinema opposite ... madness ...
Music At my eighteenth birthday party (and my god that was ten years ago) one of the invited guests thought it would be endlessly amusing to request The Smiths' 'Girlfriend in a Coma'. Unsurprisingly, the 'Rinky Dink' disco didn't have that one in their collection (although they did ablige instead with 'Tetris' by Dr Spin). Reading this fascinating interview with Simon Godard, discographer of The Smiths and beyond, I'm wondering about the pleasures I may have missed. With some bands, if I want to educate myself, I'm going to have to start at the top and work my way down.
TV At some point in the nearish past I was studying at a 'Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror' night school course, during which I created many crimes against literature, but the odd (I thought) worthwhile piece. I've just turned this up, 'The Dracula Murderer'. Three things you need to know before you read it. One -- it's not a full story -- it's a synposis for a film or tv show. Two -- it's my only ever attempt at horror, so treat it kindly. Three -- I wrote it a full six months before I'd even heard of Buffy (yes and that includes the film). Wierd.
Communications Owning the oldest mobile phone in the country I'm unfettered by such things as WAP or photo-messaging. So I can't help but grin smuggly when I see that some have been convinced that the photos which appear in the adverts have been taken by the actual phones. I quick glance over this photo blog demonstrated that technology isn't there quite yet. The article does concede the number of uses that the phones have, although the cost does seem a bit steep. [related]
Geography Someone translated this archive page into German. Hope they found what they were looking for ...

Take the What Type of Friend are
quiz, and visit

This is the oddest personality test I've ever seen. Why does LiveJournal seem like another country. Why are they all fixated with Anime? I've never seen Dragonball Z and I've no intention to. Loved Akira though. And Ghost in the Machine...
Film For various reasons, Apple haven't premiered their Switch commercials in the UK -- Macs are a very hard sell over here. Although they are regarded as being more user friendly, there is far too much software out there for the PC for anyone to consider anything else. But as I've said before, the internet affords us the chance to see these things, and more significantly their parodies:
"Mmmm ... used a PC, I did. Yes.

Betrayed I was! Forced me to release my anger, it did!

Only with a Macintosh can you bring balance to the force.

Yoda ... my name is. Jedi Master am I."
Silver Dragon Den offers other genius, including why Gandalf, Neo, Jay and Silent Bob all switched as well, all in handy wallpaper format ... [via NewsAskew]