Walker's Baked Bean flavoured in association with Comic Relief seem to be a less acid version of their Tomato Ketchup crisps. Needless to say I didn't detect any beans. Not awful, but like your own birth, an experience you wouldn't want to repeat.
The spear in the Other's heart
is the spear in you own:
you are he

There is no other wisdom,
and no other hope for us all
but that we grow wise.

[feeling listless soundtrack album to anyone who'll admit to know who that was attributed and which book it came from.]
Buffy may well be finishing. I'm just guessing based upon what I'm seeing at Google News. What do you think? I'm with The Lady Pele at Whedonesque: "ah, well---it was a great ride. "
Life You’ll notice of late I haven’t been writing much about recent history. I’m usually pretty tight lipped about my personal life anyway, but for a few weeks it’s been reviews and links all the way. There is perfect, simple reason. I’m actually quite happy and content. My job is nice and mundane without being completely uninteresting; I’m in Liverpool so I haven’t got to travel for miles to get anywhere; it’s in the centre of town so my lunch hours aren’t a complete waste; and it’s moderately paid which means I can boost my savings, while at the same time slice off some of my mounting credit card balance and pursue my other pleasures.

For a while I hadn’t been in love or for that matter been in a fancying mood. I had wondered if something had gone terribly wrong I think it was a phase. I momentarily fell in love at least twice today; I’m feeling more relaxed about that whole thing. I was never desperate, so much as worried. Now I’m resigned to a kind of whatever happens, happens. I can see my past mistakes, know what those damn signals mean and I’m now in the box marked pending.

But if I was to write about this here it would make for less than thrilling copy. We’ve all read weblogs which have key phrases such as ‘Had a good day at work.’ ‘The traffic on the road was OK on my way home.’ and ‘Here are some more pictures of my cat.’ That’s never been what this ongoing adventure has been about. Drama is conflict, and I still want to keep things interesting, tempting you in with rumours, heresay and clues. And you can be sure I’ll be here when the next bomb drops.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, a two hour in-joke, only really funny for people who've seen the DVD's of Kevin Smith's previous films (and seen the deleted scenes and heard the audio commentaries), read the comic books, visited the View Askew website .. etc ... etc ... etc ...
The video for 'Big Yellow Taxi' from the Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton, who in those long walking sequences looks like Sarah Jane Smith in seminal 70s Doctor Who. It's quite striking actually ...
Rut Blees Luxemburg: Phantom at the Tate Liverpool shows the parts of the city we wouldn't ever see. Most striking, a photo of an old decayed road riddled pot holes filled with water reflecting the shiny new building of regeneration. Recommended if you can get down there.
You like to dance and listen to the music
I like to sing with the band
You like your hands splashing in the ocean
Well I like me feet on the sand
Does anybody have it any better?
Isn't it easy to see just how well we fit together?

When I start to sing the blues
You pull out my dancing shoes
I think you could be so good for me
You get brave when I get shy
Just another reason why
I think you could be so good for me
So good.

You like to drive like Mario Andretti
I like it taking my time
But let me say wherever you are going
You know it suits me just fine
Does anybody have it any better?
Isn't it easy to see just how well we fit together?

-- Tom Snow/Jay Gruska/Amy Grant/Wayne Kirkpatrick

[No really. I was an Amy Grant fan. It was at about the same time as Debbie Gibson. The fact I put this in at late as 1994 I can only attribute to some hold over from school. Bought all albums on vinyl then she recorded a really duff version of 'Big Yellow Taxi' and I discovered Alanis. Yes people, when everyone else was discovering Oasis' 'Wonderwall' and rave culture, I was being hoodwinked by the crossover work of a Christian pop singer.... for years, as you're discovering, I was a very uncool person. (page 65)]
Music Sometimes the real answers come from the strangest of places. Freaky Trigger on the oracle like nature of 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina'
Publishing Time was that a trip to WH Smith was like visiting an art gallery. Now magazines are falling back on agency photos of stars and models to publicise their contents (which this month saw J-Lo appearing on three magazines from the same company and some random model appearing on the cover of some periodical about family trees and some computer magazine). Pop Cult has noticed the trend themselves:
"Today, the art of the magazine cover has been vanquished by celebrity worship and bad taste. Designers are simply fulfilling the dictates of their industry, not unlike the paint person on an auto assembly line. Innovation, creative expression, or even cleverness has been mostly abandoned. Artistic considerations are limited to how much retouching the celebrity headshot requires in Photoshop and how many headlines can be crammed in before the cover looks too "busy." The result: A world in which it's difficult to tell the difference between Playboy and Harper's Bazaar without cracking them open.
There are some exceptions -- both Jack and The Idler still have painted covers. But it's entirely impossible to tell the other men's mags apart.
TV RI:SE has claimed another victim. Possibly because the only co-presenter Ian Lee seems to want is his ego, Edith Bowman has quit. To be honest I'm not too surprised. Lee has a habit of putting her down, talking over her and stealing her script all of the time. From the initial burst of hope, it's increasingly feeling like a pointless two hours, like QVC without anything to sell. The only time anything that entertaining happens is in the Mel & Sue section, which is still usually too short to make an impact.
Advertising It happens now and then that when I'm in the real world, actually talking to people, in the times that they actually talk back that the subject of the internet will come up with a bizarre regularity, and I'll happen to mention that I've got this website. And sometimes they'll even ask for a web address. Which leads to a scrabble around for a pen, and as happened on Friday night the embarassment of momentarily forgetting how to write. There is of course a single, simple way out of this. To print out a bunch of papercards with my email address and web address printed on them. Trouble is, I'm not sure what this would say about me. Anyone who's received an email from me will notice that I've got my web address in my signature, and somehow this feels OK. To have cards would be the reality equivalent of this, but it feels ostentatious. Like I'm prone to self publicising. In other words, I don't want to look sad. I'd like to know if anyone else has actually gone through with this and their experiences; also if they've just printed something out on paper or gone the whole hog and actually had special cards printed. I'll post the responses, make my decision and let you know what happens ...
Blog! Bit of back scratching. The stunningly researched 24blog is following the series from a BBC perspective (we're only on episode three over here) reviewing episodes and reviews of episodes. Mentions my review of the first episode here with the title 'Frankly CTU's intelligence gathering is rubbish'. Lord knows how he found me ...

Also... Mohair at The Virgin Megastore, Liverpool, who sound like they've taken inspiration from fictional band Stillwater -- except for the Spinal Tap moment when they took time out to bring to the attention of shoppers the various bargains throughout the store ("75% off many items ... two DVDs for £20... and now for our next song ...")
The Grammys in which Norah Jones won everything. Sometimes a voice can melt a thousand hearts. Hope it doesn't go to her head.
The Bafta Film Awards in which nobody won everything and Meryl Streep wanted to spank somebody.
Cold Feet is back for a fifth season and still hits more than it misses. Although I wish Helen Baxendale would get more to do.
24 on BBC3 which I can't talk about ... but you're really not going to believe it ...
'Spirit' in which Jewel continues her first album from were she left off and lets us drift away ...
Quote! "I've never met someone who repulses me so mentally and attracts me so physically. It's like my brain is having a chess game with my penis and I'm letting it win ..." -- Jerry Seinfeld
Theatre Macbeth at The Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, 24th Feb 2003

It isn’t often that a performance of Shakespeare is so good, you’re on a keyboard writing about it just twenty minutes after it ended, before the actors have probably even gone home. But this is a special occasion. This new performance of ‘Macbeth’ is so good I recommend that any of my American readers should immediately jump on a plane and fly over here, because it doesn’t get much better than this.

This is the first production from ‘Me Old Chimney Productions’ formed from graduates of Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and LAMDA. In the programme they say that their ‘sole purpose it to enlighten and inform this story – because this story has to be told, other wise we wouldn’t be telling it.’ The setting is very functional. Three steel posts and a throne. This is a production about lighting design and people in space. The first job of the cast and director Niall Costigan is to make a familiar story different enough so that when the important moments happen it feels like the first time even for those of who have traveled down this road many times.

This is achieved immediately by elevating the position of the witches. They are there at the beginning to animate a floored Macbeth, banging drums to rouse him from some primordial sleep, a puppet of sorts for them to control. They’re striking presences, Ian Edwards, Charley Desborough and Solveig Borgen. As the play progresses they’re present in almost every scene either on the edges of the scenes or active participants filling in the minor parts; the action takes even more sinister tone as it becomes clear that the everything is being manipulated by them, this silly story a product perhaps of their boredom. At times they looked past the actors into the audience, each glance sending a chill through all, their work capturing the purest of evil. At the end of the play, as they stand over the fallen Macbeth, Borgen turns to the audience … ‘When shall we three meet again?’ … and you know these three will be back.

It’s a credit to the other actors that the witches don’t entirely overwhelm the proceedings. Norman Murray’s Macbeth is not a tragic hero in this case. When he kills Duncan and looks at the blood on his hands, he isn’t feeling remorse; he’s just shit scared that he’ll be found out. With the coaxing of the witches, he lets the evil consume him and it’s all there in Murray, his broad shoulders towering above all. In a similar paradox, Leanne Best’s Lady Macbeth is not the cold manipulator you would expect. In fact when we first meet her she seems quite virginal. But when the time comes those witches are hovering again, putting words in her mouth. This absolves the Lady of some of her responsibility somewhat.

I hadn’t planned on singling out performances so much in what is a universally good cast, who despite the kilts never descend into a Jamie Mckrimmon or Mel Gibson. But I would like to thank Christopher Dane for his commanding performances as Duncan (despite a very theatrical beard) and later the Doctor who administers to Lady Macbeth. His other part, as the Porter was another departure. The porter’s scene is always an issue in any performance of Macbeth. Time has meant that it isn’t that funny any more. Many directors just cut it out; the braver ones leave it in and hope the actor can make something of it. In this case, Costigan and Dane throw out the Shakespeare and from nowhere the Porter talks directly to the audience, and in section inspired by the work of Kevin Smith favourite George Carlin, berates their bad habits during performances and the nature of language, tragedy and theatre. It’s in keeping – in The Globe, this bit would probably have been made up by the company Clown anyway – and very funny. At the end, as he reminds us he’s got play to appear in, he suggests that everyone will remember the porter he’s right. Other than the witches it’s probably the bit everyone was talking about on the bus home.

As the lights drew up at the end, the cast seemed genuinely surprised by the level of applause. There was a second curtain call. This is something I see often in productions such as this. Despite it amateur trappings, this was a night of dynamism, originality and professionalism. I wish everyone in the cast well with their next project and nurse my memories of this one.

[At one point Solveig Borgen shifted past me on the way the stage, turned looked by straight in the eye and whispered ‘foul is fair …’ I now feel like I’ve got hex on me. Does this mean I’m going to be king some time soon?]
Also... Time Team celebrated its 100th edition by visiting their very first site (the weapons factory of Alexander The Great) and finally getting to dig there.
The Artist's Studio: Titian in which a contemporary portrait artist masquerading as 'Our Man Flint' discovered how the Venetian painter painted the famous 'Crash Test Dummies' album cover, using some very expensive and poisonous pigments to the soundtrack from the remake of 'The Thomas Crown Affair'.
'Water To Drink' Victoria Williams was Norah Jones about five years too early pretending to be Tori Amos at the same time.
Quote! Click here.

[It's a bit long so rather than clogging up this page with lots of text I thought I'd link to it elsewhere instead. I studied John Donne for A-Level (which will account for how many times his work will crop up over the coming days). This didn't appear in the school anthology we worked from, because it's pornography masquerading as Metaphysical poetry. If you have an imagination, you can really go to work here. Not long afterwards, Donne found God. I'm surprised he didn't go crosseyed as well.]
Film Personal Velocity greets three women at a transitional point in their lives. Delia (Kyra Sedgewick) runs from an abusive marriage for the sake of her kids; Greta (Parker Posey) finds her own ambition contrasting sharply with her too comfortable relationship; Paula (Faruza Balk) finds herself at the epicenter of everything try to find a path out. You can visit the official website if you want a more detailed synopsis. I would recommend however that you greet the film as I did, cold. This is a case were it’s important to know as little as possible about the stories which are about to unfold. So I’ll just give my impressions.

It’s a port-manteau film, three separate stories connected thematically, and in this case joined together by a voice over using words, I suspect from the original short stories the piece is based upon. Each is intriguing and shot with the nimbleness and risk taking of a new director on their first project. The performances are uniformally excellent, although the most surprising is Sedgewick, who has all of the fluffiness of ‘Singles’ and ‘Something To Talk About’ scrubbed out of her offering work of depth and range. Parker Posey revisits the character she played in ‘Clockwatchers’ and Faruza Balk proves once more that the American film industry is disastrously selective when it come to casting, demonstrating yet again she could carry any film.

The trouble with this kind of film is that you can be in danger of making you subject matter so interesting, that the audience can feel at turns disorientated and cheated. In ‘New York Stories’, for example, it’s impossible to imagine that any of the three situations could continue past the ending we are offered; in ‘The Joy Luck Club’, although we find a multitude of stories, collectively they create a narrative. Here, unfortunately we have what feel like the first acts of three really great films; at the point when the second at is supposed be starting we are somewhere else following a different character. Perhaps I’ve missed what the point; I just feel as though I should know what happened to the three protagonists after their life changing decisions.

Then again, if the only criticism I can find for a film is that I wanted to know more and see more, then its obviously doing something right.