Obituary Popped Clogs on the late Barry White...
"At the moment, though, we remember him as a Voice. A voice which was very, very deep and which grunted and heavy-breathed its way across strings and disco beats. (Side-question: did Barry invent disco in 1973? Actually, the guy's dead, so let's not blame him for that.) A voice which women enjoyed very, very much, but with a body which their husbands considered no threat. But they should have. A friend of mine, when calculating how much she would have to be paid to sleep with various celebrities, said she would do Barry 'for a bun'."
... see also the usual at Metafilter ...
Music I was sorry that I'd missed The Great Music Debate the other night. But it sounds as though I didn't miss anything, with the same issues trotted out again. Ammo City probably have a better idea:
"my sunday league team were training in the park when rupert fc (polydor) asked us for a game. we kicked them 10-0 or something but they gave a great passing shot: "at least we still make hit records". i don't know about that but probably the last polydor title i bought said james brown on the label and came from a second-hand shop. tossers. a nice side note is that my now ex-team was soon after barred from the pub that sponsored us, after our first team meeting. the team recently disbanded but not before the pub burnt down (just imagine all this was a major label marketing department). "
Although I notice I can listen again online. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
People Jason 'Jay' Mewes is still in a bit of a state. Distressing news.
Film In a wild example of mass focus grouping, the makers of the new BBC Film about the meeting of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, are asking people online to vote for the title that they think best fits the story. Or if they don't like what's on offer to suggest their own.
Technology Future technology we all need to be aware of, according to PC Magazine. I'm particularly interested in Text Mining, which is an ultra-specific search engine which will look through mountains of unsorted text and pull out anything which is relevant, which reminds me of the way the human mind tries to remember things. Still the material has to be on computer in the first place. I've been reading many non-fiction books lately without indexes, making cross referencing impossible. I'm waiting for the day when a system is designed which can take a book and automatically scan it in, turning the pages itself as necessary creating a digital facsimile automatically. I could then search the result. A text version of CD ripping software.
Wars Forceometer. I'm Mace Windu apparently. For once worth visiting for the natty design which apes the original Star Wars arcade machine with 3D vector graphics. Some of the questions are funny though... "How would you describe small talking Teddy Bears? Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?"
Spam Scamming the scammer. Somewhere along the line I think we've all wondered what would happen if we answered the Nigerian 419 scam email. Now we don't have to. Someone calling himself 'ebola monkey man' has been taking the scammer's on a email journey to the point that he will only agree to send them money if they send him a silly picture of themselves holding up a sign with their name on... [via b3ta]
Big Brother There was me all ready the write about tonight's eviction show. The big house in Elstree was evacuated tonight because of possible bomb scare. That this is probably the most eventful thing which has happened in the past few weeks, next to the Cameron shouting match in Africa demonstrates the noticable ratings plunge. Digital Spy are already speculating on what the house mate's reactions will be...
"Nush - `I feel strangely calm as if something wonderful is about to happen!!!`

Lisa - When I was in Cardiff and we had a bomb alert in the store - `trust me I know`

Scott - everyone just keep calm, we're doing fine

Gos - zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz *cough*

Ray f**k there s f**** bomb, we're all gonna F****** die. what a load of b*********!!!!!!!

Cameron - OOO a borrrrrm? My gorrrrrd a borrrrrrm u say????
RRRRReaaalllly????? A borrrrrrrrm??????
The live feed on E4 Interactive is pleasingly minimal at the moment, a night shot of the house with birdsong playing in the background. I seem to remember Channel 4 carrying a similar show when it first began...

Updated Pictures of the housemates going to the safe house. For some reason it reminds me of the accused entering court, with family and friends trying to offer their support ...
TV Ever the optimist, I live to see the day when a British TV channel dump their schedule for a weekend to show a marathon of something of the quality of the original Twilight Zone. For now, at least, I can read about the impressive line-up the US Sci-Fi channel have on offer over the weekend. For some reason, squinting at the odd episode, late at night in the Eighties, I missed the really bonkers Fourth Season episodes, such as:
" episode in which a dreadful wannabe writer conjured up William Shakespeare to help him churn out--gasp--mere TV scripts. Shakespeare does as he is told yet cannot help but chafe at how his words and ideas are mangled and made mediocre by the many obstacles inherent in the medium."
Which of puts a lie to the oft paraphrased assumption that the bard would be writing for soap opera if he were writing now. To add the the memories in the articles, I'm still haunted by the episode in which the last man alive realises he might be able to cope because he has a library of books to keep him happy, until he manages to break his only unique pair of reading glasses ... [via Tv Tattle]
Life An anniversary I allowed to slip by unnoticed is that it’s a year since I stopped commuting to Manchester for work. I’m happy that I’ve got the time back, despite the odd hours the of rota in my current job. But in some ways I feel like I’m not using it as richly as I was. I’m missing the time I spent on the train each day. With little else to do, I would read much more and have the time to listen to whole albums. I would meet the same people regularly and talk about the day and grumble about the train being late. And there was the sparkle of the lights in the sidings as we trundled into Liverpool Lime Street. It’s the old chestnut of there not being enough hours in the day. I think I’m going to start spending a night or so a week in the local coffee house just reading and listening to music; if I can get the waitress to check my ticket or try and sell me staggeringly overpriced soft drinks, it might be a decent substitute.
Science In 1707 a committee within the British Government held competition for someone to design a method of tracking longitude to aid ships in their navigation of the globe. The rewards was the not inconsiderable sum, even now, or £20,000. As anyone who has read Dava Sobel's book or saw the magnificent film knows, somes years later the clock maker John Harrison developed a clock and watch which used time to accurately measure the distances involved.

In 2002, Big Brother contestant Jon Tickle issues a challenge to toaster manufacturers: "What's the problem with toast from a toaster right now? You put two slices of toast in, they pop up, you whip one out and spready over the magarine. By the time you get to the second one though, the consistency has changed.. you never get that second slice quite as good as that first one. So why not have a time delay on the second one? You could have a second dial on the toaster and set it to twenty seconds or something so the second slice would pop up when you were done buttering the first." Kenwood took up the challenge and designed a toaster which would keep the toast warm for a further twenty seconds. Tickle wasn't happy. It wasn't what he wanted. So he told them to go back to the drawing board.

Moral: It can take big minds a long time to understand the simplest of things.
Quiz! Because sometimes they're actually quite inventive ...

My life is rated PG.
What is your life rated?
Quiz! Guess My Name !?!
Hobbies Toni Cacace-Beshears demonstrates her collection of Toilet paper from around the world. "We traveled through France, Germany, Italy," she recalled. "I wanted to collect something, and we were poor. Hummels were too expensive and glass would break."
Film Moving piece from Zadie Smith about the late Katharine Hepburn.
Appeal Bit of a long shot considering my target audience but did anyone happen to videotape the BBC show Born and Bred on Sunday? It was the last in the current series and my parents are fans but missed the thing due to watching the dullest Time Team ever on the other side. Will to pay for tape and postage if anyone can help.
TV Just why is Jonathan Creek, a sort of detective story of a man in a duffle coat and a Tom Baker perm so consistently successful when all evidence would point to widespread indifference? Jack Kibble White from Off The Telly makes a decent attempt at an explaination. Is it me or were the comedy elements of the last series uncomfortably close to One Foot In The Grave?
Film Overwhelmingly positive review for Terminator 3. "We were in uncharted territory now, making up history as we went along ...."
Theatre Here is the story of how Shakespeare introduced me to a dear friend. As some readers will know for years I've been taking evening classes at the University of Liverpool. For a year or two I'd been studying writing (and doesn’t it show) and I was looking for a change, something less proactive and more to do with listening. I’d tried a general poetry course before, but it had been too general. So I glanced through the brochure and their was something which considered King Lear and Othello.

I’ve never got to grips with King Lear. For some reason, no matter which production I watch, I’m happy during the first three acts but the minute the old duffer stalks the moors in the storm, I’m lost. My brain stops working and nothing can pull me back. So I thought I’d do this course and get it out of my system once and for all. Then I’d have five weeks of coasting through Othello which I’d already studied at school.

I missed the first week. Something I seem to remember to do with work.

The second week I appear in the class room nice and early, twenty minutes to go before showtime at 7pm, plenty of time to find out from the students what I’d missed the following week (although the first lecture is always mostly administration, so I decided not much). I sit. I sit again. The clock on the wall is ticking towards ten to seven. Not a soul. I stand up I look about outside in case anyone is coming in the direction of the room. No one.

I sit down again. Then the door opens and a security guard walks in. He frightens the life out of me.

I ask him where everyone is or if course has moved.

“The course isn’t running. No one turned up last week.” He says levelly. “Can I lock up the room.”

My heart sinks. I’m still stuck with my King Lear block.

By now I’m in the corridor looking furiously through the course booklet looking for something else interesting in the building I’m in. The only thing listed is a “History of Popular Music”. Since my knowledge of any kind of music, like everything else is spotty at best I thought I might plug that gap. I dash over and sit down in the correct room.

I’m the youngest person there. Everyone else is at least twenty years older than me. The woman sitting next to me has a Beatles T-shirt, Beatles bag, Beatles pencil case, Beatles pens and a Beatles notebook. I almost ask her if she likes The Rolling Stones but think better of it. As always some people recognize each other so they’re chatting. The tutor walks in. I remember three things about him. He was wearing a general white and green rugby shirt; he’s bald on top but with a massive mullet at the back; when he spots me as a new addition he pats me on the shoulders from the back. This is creepy. I have y’know personal space.

There is an old style portable record player. Which then proceeds to ignore for the next fifty minutes as he talks about music pre-WW2. For some reason he decides to spend ten minutes of this chatting to one of the students about rationing. I’m not learning a thing. Damn. When the break arrives I quietly tell him I won’t be back. For some reason he doesn’t look dejected or rejected as though this has happened before.

By now it’s eight o’clock. I don’t want to go home, I still want to do a course so I know I’m going to have to take the unprecedented step of gatecrashing something after their break. I dash over to one of the other sites and stand in the entrance hall looking at the course board to see what is on there that night.

While I’m standing there, this talk, striking woman stands next to me. She’s obviously European, attractive in a movie kind of way. She’s standing very close to me, but for some reason the personal space issues are out of the window. From somewhere I still can’t work out I ask:
“Are you doing a course?”
“Oui.” She’s French.
“Which one?”
“Art, Beauty and Philosophy.” She makes each word sound French even though its English.
“Any good?”
“I think I’ll join you.”
She glances at me a little bit startled. Then nods and smiles. So I follow her up the stairs and into the classroom. I sit in an empty seat. Now I get an attack of the nerves as the rest of the class pile in. All are all looking at me. Especially the tutor. Unprompted I explain that I had been on another course but I didn’t like it and that this seemed interesting. She just nodded and gave me an application. I was in.

The course itself is mind bending stuff. I manage to take in if not necessarily understand most of it. But I’m enjoying myself and I resolve to come back the following week.

Afterwards, on other course people would automatically go for a drink. Not thing time. I asked the question but most wanted to rush home, especially the French girl who had inspired me to take up Plato as a replacement for King Lear. So I went home. Happy with the knowledge that I’d found a course.

Second week. Again the course is fascinating. Again no one wants to drink afterwards. There is one girl who a dawdle with as she waits for her bus. She’s pretty, and again European, although not sure from where. She says that she would go for a drink but she has a cold. But we chat until her bus comes.

Third week. There is tension in the course as its becoming abundantly clear that there is a man in the group who knows as much about the subject as the tutor and seems to be seeking to undermine her teaching. She’s too polite to tell him to shut up and go away, so we put up with him. By now I’d decided that there was no point asking anyone to go for a drink. I’m startled to find the European girl’s cold has cleared up and she asks me about going for the drink. I find out she’s Greek.

And that’s how I met the oft-mentioned Fani who’s been an important part of my life for the past four or five years. And we wouldn’t have met if I’d been learning about King Lear instead. This link sort of fills the gap in my knowledge, but I’m actually happier for it to be there. Reminds me that sometimes, learning isn’t as much fun as doing.

what decade does your personality live in? Find out in a quiz brought to you by lady interference, ltd
Film After watching the geekfest that is the audio commentary for Trek homage Free Enterprise and the producer's general feeling that it would be stupid and impossible to do a sequel, I'm actually pleasantly surprised to see that is going to be a sequel. The originally titled Free Enterprise 2 is in production and everyone is back, including the now famous for playing gay Eric Will & Grace McCormack. But how do you top getting Shatner to appear in your debut? They have NIMOY! I only hope the increased budget allows them to license some of the actually gear from the series this time. The lack of insignias last time was embarassing.