Life So I'm going to be offline for a few days while I move flats. Last time, my modem died (I think it took a bash somewhere along the line) and I was offline all summer. This is an internal model so I'm hoping history won't be repeating. The weblog archives for that time mainly consist of 'Still not working ...' 'Still not online...' Anyway, see you on the other side...
TV RI:SE is terminal. Final show to go out 19 December, four months before the contract was up. And no, it hasn't improved no matter what this article says ...
That Day I missed this. Does that mean I have to walk the plank?
TV This'll help you understand what some Guardian writers are talking about. Everything you'd need to know about American Television (almost), including why certain episodes in a season suddenly feature A REALLY EXCITING PLOTINE, a crossover with another show or a movie star and why that period is called sweeps. Comforting to know that it isn't just in the UK that no one is watching TV on a Saturday night. [via tvtattle]
Thought When I was at school the only club or society I threw any kind enthusiasm into was the Debating Society. Now I find that it's been merged with the Philosophy Society, although reading the article it doesn't look like anything's changed. This is just the sort of subject I'd end up cracking up over. The best debater I ever saw there was the almost famous Mitch Benn who I've mentioned before. Really strong improvisational skills.

Which I lacked. No really. In the first debate I attended which was about Nuclear Disarmament when it was opened to the floor I decided the best idea was for scientists to build giant forcefields to go over the continents. When I finally became a speaker I stood at the front and chattered my way through an explanation as to why Britain was becoming another American state and later why Satellite TV was a very bad thing indeed. How times change.

Actually I tell a lie. There were other clubs. I attended the Astronomical Society all the time, where episodes of The Sky At Night would be shown. Sometimes my mate Chris would come along and the attendance would double. I once gave a talk called 'Strange Universe' which I cribbed from pages of a Star Wars comic. Everyone in my class turned up to have a laugh at me nerve my way through that one.
Education I'm quite impressed by my old school's new website. Last time I looked it seemed to have been designed by the pupils themselves in class. Now it's feel is much more professional, what with a semi-weblog on the front page and very fast menu bar system.

The content also includes material from the Squirrel yearbook which was published annually in which the pupils would write pieces about what was happening in the school -- on a model which I realise now was very similar to the American model, the only difference being we didn't get out picture printed. I'm intrigued by the how the Alumni section will develop. They aren't too discreet about saying that it'll riff off Friends Reunited either.
Life For some reason today one of my shoes decided to become a sound effect from The Archers of a farmer walking across a field. As the rain poured down, although my left foot was tapping across the brickwork which passes for pavements in Liverpool City Centre, all I could get out my right foot was ‘squelch!’ ‘squelch!’ ‘squelch!’ ‘squelch!’ I stopped to look at the sole and it seemed perfectly normal. I tried dragging it around a bit on the carpet in WH Smith (not too idiotically) and I must have dried it off a bit because then it became ‘squealch!’ ‘squealch!’ ‘squealch!’ So if there are any agents out there, it’s available for voice work and as a new presenter on RI:SE.
Journalism Amusing almost page-by-page review of the London newspaper, The Evening Standard:
"Page 36: 'Little Miss Beckwith'

Verdict: 16-year-old daughter of it-girl tells all in 'her first ever interview'. a fucking wind-up.

Of course I am, it will be said, sounding bitter. Which is mostly because I am. None of the above has any f**king relevance to anything that happens in London besides a few riding stables."
Which is a similar argument to the one I made recently about the Manchester-centric local news. At one point it got so bad that via the magic of satellite TV we began watching the BBC London News instead and it felt more relevant. Odd.
Flash Mobs are supposed to be largely secretive. Not according to these people. It hasn't occured to them that if they actually heavily publicise a mob, heavily armed security guards might also be in attendance.
Food Rough Guide to Fast Food in Los Angeles in case you're in the area. Warning because the picture of a burger on the page will make you insanely hungry.
Weblogs Weblog Ethics is an excerpt from Rebecca's book which offers a good roadmap to writing a weblog with a concience. [via Rebecca's Pocket]
Radio Heat Magazine to launch radio station. Sounds rubbish.
People This from the 'Edwina Currie / John Major wierd romance department'. Jerry 'I was in Sliders' O'Connell and Geri 'I was Ginger once' Halliwell seen on a date. Jerry and Geri. Something similar about those names.
Life I visited my old-new-old flat the other night. My room now resembles one of the little rooms that sometimes holds installations at The Tate. It has a mock-wooden floor and white wall and white blinds. Because the floor is actually a sort of covered laminate it's quite springy and warm, like the sprung floor in use during the Netball at the Commonwealth Games. It's nice to have a room which actually has good memories at the core.
TV Although this has whiff of an item which used to appear on Steve Wright in the Afternoon on Radio One in the eighties (and isn't that an obscure reference) most of the writing in Lost Remote's Things Viewers Never, Ever Say rings utterly true:
"I'm glad they referred to him as 'the Pontiff' on the second reference and 'John Paul the Second' on the third reference. I would have been bored if they just said 'The Pope.'"

"I'm glad they clarified that it was "ACTOR" Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had no idea who they were talking about."

"It really helped my understanding of that story that they asked a couple of random idiots on the street what THEY thought of it."
Can I add ... "I'm really glad that the local North West news broadcast from Manchester always highlights stories about Manchester -- I mean who wants to hear about anywhere else?"
TV Channel 4 launching a new channel for the over 30s, called More4. Personally I would have liked something akin to the channel in the late eighties early nineties when film four was at it's peak and it still produced serious drama and documentaries. Anyone remember Cutting Edge?
Politics Again in the Big Country an example of micro-politics. A recent referendum at Brock University is brought into question. Were students misled in last year's bus pas referendum? Although the subject is utterly irrelevant to anyone who isn't a student of that university, this is a very passionate argument, and you can see the stirings of a strong politician. Good luck with the presidency Laura Fekete.
Currency It appears that food portions aren't the only things which are bigger in the United States. The Memory Hole baits forgers and publishes scans of a $10,000 bill and other large denominations. In the UK, things are a bit smaller.
Life In a week’s time we will have moved flats again, and for some reason I feel a lot calmer. Whether it’s because everything is already packed from last year so I haven’t got that to do again, or that it’ll be the same time as a holiday. Perhaps it a pronounced instance of something getting easier each time you do it. Which means when I finally move out of the crib it’ll be a breeze (ouch … I think by tongue has bonded with the inside of my cheek).
Music If you're in the UK and buying one single this week, it really should be Siobhan Donaghy's Twist of Fate, a really natty bit of pop, if only for the video which seem to be taking the piss out of the kind of videos single white girl singers appear in (In the first section she stands in the centre of four hired in dancers giving there all. But she just looks at them and walks away. Reminds me of early Debbie Harry actually). This Observer article goes some way to explaining what happened with The Sugababes:
"What happened in Japan to precipitate walking out of the band and flying back to London alone? She shrugs, folds her arms. 'We did have a falling out in Japan, me and Keisha. But. I dunno. It was just never good. Right from the start. We just didn't get on. We ignored each other and went about our business. It was very much a working relationship and we couldn't even work at that. You know all those photos of us refusing to smile? I was just really unhappy and I couldn't be arsed.' "
Her official site is also very interesting, a magazine in flash format which flicks through to the page you're looking for. [The Guardian reviews a concert here]
Words Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elings uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. Ceehiro ! [via Chris and everybody else]
Books I've had another Bookcrossing catch:
"I picked it up in the Starbucks, and leafed through it whilst drinking my coffee. I agree that the comedy only really comes out through his voice - and his faces. I've never been his biggest fan though. It was interesting reading comedy that was written when Thatcher was in power."
I think I'll probably just leave them all on the top floor of Starbucks. Seems to be the perfect pick up place.
Shakespeare The Bard on Music:

If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O! it came o?er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour.
["Twelfth Night" (1.1.1-7)]
Music This is only beginning of this story Ewan McGregor has recorded a rap song which pokes fun at dead rock stars. I love that the linked article fills time by reminding us who he is: "McGregor, who comes from Crieff, Perthshire..." (really !?!) "McGregor, who played a heroin addict in Trainspotting ....." (which is a bit like saying "Paul McCartney formerly of a band called 'The Beatles' ")
Music Pop Cult Magazine discusses why Mojo Magazine would never work in the US. Many wounds made in Rolling Stone magazine, not least because they'll have anyone female and attractive nowadays. I mean I do like reading The Stone now and then, but the number of times a teen idol (usually Britney) has appeared in the cover is certainly hair raising.
Life I mentioned this other other day but now it's becoming quite disturbing. I can't review music. I just sat down to write about the really good, Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvadore Poe and I ended up talking about Breakfast at Tiffanys and summer days. I can write a potted history of the album and the singer (seventh album of the Gold record selling Swedish singing the words and music of her New York husband Poe) but when it comes to talking about what's there I don't know where to begin.

Perhaps its my frame of reference; I'd end up comparing it to Norah Jones or easy listening music like Andy Williams, or the soundtrack to some film by Douglas Sirk. But that's not really reviewing. I don't really have a frame of reference because I haven't heard anything else by her. I look through the writing in Word magazine or Q and it all seems to effortless, and although I can follow what is being done, replicating it is another matter.

So this is why, although I have a large music collection I hardly every writie about any of it. Saying how much something reminds you of something else doesn't really feel like a review. Perhaps needless pretentiously I could say that I speak the language of film instead -- I can talk about films forever. When I finish the odd book I can somehow manage to write something about that. But music is different. I have, I suppose, the same reaction as some have to art. I know what I like and I think I know what is good and what isn't.

All of which feels like a massive apology. So in the future I might just stick in a recommendation without any great depth if that's alright. I think this works...

Music Lisa Ekdahl sings Salvadore Poe or The Carpenters do jazz as a husband gets his million cd selling wife to sing some songs. The perfect track for couples having a candlelit dinner or for a summer afternoon in the park, or for singles looking to be awoken by something fresh and breezy in the morning. Just the right side of the 'spirit of the Punto'. Favourite lyric: We can talk in circles / Going round in a million ways / And never understand."