The Internet Why is in German? [via WebUser]
Buffy Just by clicking in the wrong places, I know what happens in the last episode of Buffy. And 24 for that matter. I bloody hate the internet.
Big Brother As I said on this page: "I remember being invited to a party once that was just like tonight's Big Brother. It was the longest night of my life." There isn't anything fun about watching a bunch of people get pissed and wanting to go to the toilet, so last night was a real trial. But at least they weren't running around naked and daubing each other with paint like the first crowd. Because I'm a sadist, I'm hoping Anushka is going to be there TALKIN' WEALLY LOU'LY AND PRETENSHOUSLY until the very end ...
Music In a few paragraphs, The Bermuda Sun lays out why file sharing really isn't to blame for the slow death of the music industry:
"With companies offering mostly formulated garbage that is packaged to appeal to teens and young adults, they failed to realize this could only last so long before the lack of quality caught up with them. If you eat junk food constantly, you will become ill and unhealthy. This analogy sums it up for the corporate giants. Nothing lasts forever and eventually people realize what is real and what isn’t."
The last great album I bought 'How To Get Home' by The Bush, The Tree and Me cost me a pound from a bargain bin. Good music is out there. It's just that no one seems to be noticing.
Film For the interested, BBC4 will be screen eight hours worth of short films in June. It's being called The Shortest Night. Oh the punning irony.
Life I actually had to squint my eyes this morning when I emerged into the sun. Hello again everyone.
Net Anatomy of a meme. Like a lot of people, I downloaded the clip of the young gentleman pretending to be Darth Maul in front of a camera. It's sort of funny to begin with -- then I remembered I've probably commited more embarassing things to tape (which I drag out every couple of years to remind myself how far I've come). Jish and friends are currently having a fundraiser for him and donations are up to US$3519 [via B3TA]
Books Just to prove that translating anything into another language can go very badly (in reference to my rant below), The Atlantic reviews an English version of Stendahl's 'Le Rouge et le Noir'
"urton Raffel has produced a generally accurate but, I think, coarse and inappropriate translation of Le Rouge et le Noir. To this English reader, his frequent use of specifically American idioms is startling. It is peculiar, in a work so much about nineteenth-century European snobbery and social constraint, to come across the term "high school"; to hear casual dialogue like "Sure, he looked at you" and "Oh, fine"; to find nouns like "hick" and "bumpkin" and "high society." There is no particular reason to think that idioms current elsewhere in the English-speaking world would be more appropriate, but Raffel's choices are so clearly rooted in a more democratic viewpoint that one of the subtle effects of the novel is lost. To have socially unequal characters say, "Sure, he looked at you," is to introduce an alien note of breezy democracy to Stendhal's agonizingly stratified world."
Strangely I don't have any problem with the similar issue of reading subtitles on French movies -- I wouldn't expect the a formal English style on something like Taxi or La Haine -- they need to using the word of the street to get the point across. It's all to do with context. You can download all of the author's words in French from Project Gutenburg here.
TV Big Brother 4 of all things starts on Friday. Still trying to decide if I can be bothered, but for now here is a comprehensive where are they now of all the previous contestants. I'm actually fairly amazed at how many have just picked up their own lives from where they left off (see Sunita and Sandy). Fun for the more bizarre juxtapositions ... Spencer's been dating Sasha Alexander who played Dawson's girlfriend Gretchen for a year on The Creek. Dean and Stuart have a business making a Tea Bag Bin (which does look strangely useful). Sada is waitressing. Oh well.
Shakespeare I know this post is going to out me as a Radio Times reader, but one letter today really incensed me. I'll let is speak for itself.

... guy wins a DAB radio for that, thereby suggesting the RT letters editor actually agrees with him. There isn't anything actually wrong with modern retellings of Shakespeare's plays. I love Ten Things I Hate About You and O (and Joe Macbeth while we're at it). But this guy seems to be looking for someone to film this thing. To spell it out to Chris who is asking Why is it that Shakespeare's words are considered sacrosanct? The reason people don't produce a word for word English translated version of Shakespeare is because ... it would be stupid. The modern French versions try to replicate the sense and imagery whilst attempting to keep the poetry. You're looking for someone to take you example 'Tis in grain' and get someone to explode the meaning and then get the actor to say all those tedious flabby words. In Shakespeare you aren't loosing meaning because it's in what you're calling a foreign language -- you're in fact gaining layers of meaning for those who want to go look for them. For everyone else the general sense is in there and if you can actually be bothered to listen a perfectly good idea of what is going on. It's all about the poetry in the bard, not always the plot. I need to drink ...
TV My review of the fabulous new Sunday night BBC drama 'State of Play' is up at OffTheTelly. You can read the interview laden press pack here.
Blog! Some time ago I decided that all weblog titles could be divided down the middle. There were those which were obviously band names, and those which would make great album titles. Here is a list of examples...

Album Titles

digital trickery
dust from a distant sun
feeling listless
Inscrutable Exhortations
As Above
The Adventures of AccordionGuy in the 21st Century
It's All About Me, Me, Me
More a way of life....
Off On A Tangent
What's New, Pussycat?
Androgynous Mind
Hava Cuppa Tea
And I defy graity...
I Love Everything
world of jill matrix
Kung Fu Grippe
little. yellow. different.
mad musings of me
burnt toast
Apothecary's Drawer
Rebecca's Pocket

Band Names

Boing Boing
Bifurcated Rivets
Banners And Us
Anil Dash
defective yeti
parallax view
Robot Wisdom

If your site isn't on the list email or comment and I'll decide whether you will be playing at Wembly or being taken off a shelf at HMV ...
Shakespeare really knew how to write a good death scene ...
"Lavinia (Titus Andronicus)
After being raped and mutilated by Tamora's two sons, Chiron and Demetrius, Lavinia is murdered by her own father, Titus, to spare her further shame.

Goneril (King Lear)
Goneril, the depraved scoundrel who concocts nefarious schemes against her father, Lear, and her husband, the Duke of Albany, commits suicide when her plots are exposed.
What's striking browsing through this list is how the characters of Shakespeare consider pride as important as mortality. If someone is shamed or does wrong there isn't any way they're going to be left standing after five acts. Unless it's comedy. Or a problem play.
Architecture A Momentary Vignette considers The Empire State Building.
Commerce To quote: "ELLE Macpherson is selling her famed body to the highest bidder who will be able to keep it for as long as they want and do with it whatever they please." No sniggering at the back ...
Life Something really odd just happened. I was sitting down in front of one of the Sky film channels for the first time in weeks. The only thing remotely worth watching was 'Roman Holiday'. I snuggled up under my duvet on the couch and suddenly found the screen very difficult to watch. The reason is deeply anal and slightly embarassing. It wasn't in widescreen, or rather the side of the picture had been lobbed off so the film would feet the screen -- and I could tell -- and every moment was filled with me trying to work out what I was missing. Then it occured to me I hadn't watched a film in full screen in months and I was out of practice. I've a feeling now, that once my credit card has been paid off a bit (no hope there, Buffy Season Six DVD on the way) I'll be forking out for the Audrey Hepburn boxset ...
Commerce Is this the highest price ever suggested for a banana?

State of Play.

TV Another rerun from Off The Telly, a review of the first episode of Paul Abbot's State of Play, in tribute to the concluding parts of The Code which went out on BBC Four on Saturday for which this surely provided something of a model. Both are about journalists fighting against corruption in their governments, investigating conspiracies and seeking truth to power.  I should get a job in marketing.  After a slightly flabby episode or two in the middle, The Code managed to find a solution which worked in elements from the rest of the series, provide decent conclusions for all its characters and ended on a relatively high note.  The whole series is still available to watch on the iPlayer for the next two weeks.

The BBC announcer advised that State of Play would contain “strong language and a violent opening,” and to prove the point a petty thief is shot in the head in the opening few seconds, whilst a small child looks on. The assassin then goes at it to gun down a motorcyclist who witnessed the incident. The viewer would be forgiven for thinking they were in for something in the mould of a ITV1 cop show, but instead it’s the spark for an engrossing political thriller.

Like all good pot boilers, a series of random events play out over the first quarter which slowly begin to knit together. As well as the shooting incident, a political researcher appears to commit suicide. Her boss, a high ranking MP Stephen Collins (David Morrissey) breaks down in a press conference signaling an affair he had been having with her. The only journalist who isn’t interested in the story Cal McCaffrey (John Simm) turns out to be an old friend, who now finds himself in a conflict of interests. Also sniffing around is Della Smith (Kelly MacDonald) who makes the (admittedly expected) connection between the thief and the researcher.

The first real surprise is that all this is being written by Paul Abbot, who of late has become the king of northern comedy drama (Linda Green, Clocking Off, Coronation Street); but this forgets his sterling work on the much blacker Robson Green dramas Reckless and Touching Evil, and his writing on Cracker. He knows his way around psychology, intrigue and suspense. It’s also fairly obvious from the start that both he and director David Yates have homeworked the genre. When we first see reporter Cal, it’s in a dash through a massive open plan office ending with a late entry into a newspaper editorial meeting. It evokes All the President’s Men, and as the show continues beats mirror moments in The Parallax View and a raft of other ’70s thrillers; the drip by drip of information.

Disappointingly, there really isn’t anything all that new here, and in terms of delivering truly new dramatic shocks it runs a poor second to the mighty 24 which it has the misfortune to nestle beside in the schedules. But it’s the handling and spinning of the elements it really excels at. Knowledge of a similar real world investigation helps to make scenes such as the one in which a witness sells a briefcase full of information to Simm’s character seem pretty realistic; whether he would be able to give his disgraced politician friend a room without compromising his journalistic balance is less certain. But we know he’s going to be keeping both parties in the loop, manipulating each until the truth comes out so it feels like part of some larger plan and therefore acceptable.

There are some lovely small character moments: When Della and a police informant (The Book Group‘s Rory McCann) meet for the first time upon realizing they’re both Scottish: “Where are you from?” he asks. “Glasgow” she replies. “Edinburgh” he confesses. In that moment, an instant bond forms. Knowing that said briefcase (now deemed to be quite illegal) is on the premises, the receptionist talks to the editor, asking for a lawyer, “Out of your league, Buffy, try the mail room.” Or – know your place girl …

These are helped in no small part by the performances. John Simm offers a charismatic performance, a classic gumshoe; Kelly MacDonald’s understated delivery as the bringer of exposition is just right and cracks at the right moment; David Morrissey offers a new spin on the disgraced politician, hurt but aware of evident consequences of his actions. Quite how Shakespearean a tragic figure he is to become will unfold. He’s more than a match for Simm as their characters clash over the ideologies of their chosen employment at an inopportune moment.

With a lead in from the unnervingly popular village comedy Born and Bred and opposite yet another cop show (Blue Murder) on ITV1 this is in the perfect position to give the general audience something a bit more intelligent to follow on a Sunday night, and for some reason seems to fit the evening like a glove. Like Spooks and the trashy Trust it’s another example of the BBC taking ideas from across the Atlantic and giving them a British spin. This is very, very good so far; but it would be easy to see everything spiral turgidly and unbelievably into space, suspension of disbelief stretched to breaking point. In this show it really does run very close. This reviewer hopes that doesn’t happen and that in six weeks, when everyone is watching I can have the satisfaction of saying I was there from the start.

Luckily State of Play became one of the classic pieces of television which would end up making the careers of a fair few cast members and whose director, David Yates, ended up shepherding the final four installments of the Harry Potter series before becoming terribly muddled about the future of Doctor Who.  There was also the half-decent film remake.  The 24 comment above is spectacularly wrong headed isn't it?