Blog! Rabi from wockerjabby is playing rugby again and her list of injuries is wince inducing:
"1. left wrist, deep tissue bruise & ligament strain
2. left hand knuckles, scraped & swollen
3. latissimus dorsi, generally sore
4. adductors, sore & tight
5. right cheek, scratched & scraped
6. right ear, cartilege bruise
7. neck, shredded plastic laceration.
Includes photo which isn't for the faint hearted ...
TV So that's what they're called. Every now and then in the flicking through Freeview looking for something to watch I've come across these rather sinister looking fuzzy coloured blobs which seem to be try to control our minds. Meet the Boohbahs:"five luridly twinkly balls with little fat arms and legs. They sleep in strange, furry beds inside a luminous Boohball that travels through the sky visiting different countries. They have no mouths and don't talk; but their eyebrows light up most expressively. When the Boohbahs bend or spin or bump into each other - which they do frequently - they emit a variety of high pitched, iffly-wiffly sounds and bizarre electronic farts."In about fifteen years the kids of today are going to be sitting in the pub getting nostalgic about this!?! How lucky were we?
Journalism Yemeni journalists from the al-Thawra Daily go on strike after treatment from manager. "They complained in a letter to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate that the Chief Editor Ali Al-Rrawee abused them, called them “rubbish” and threatened to sack them and use the internet instead." Numbskull. How's that going to work?
Film Regular readers will be aware of my general disdain for Odeon cinemas with their predominantly tiny screens, poor seating and screening equipment. But I'm currently spoilt with alternatives but there was a time when that was the only cinema available and I generally put up and shut up, and Odeon cinema being better than none at all. So I can imagine how the people of York feel about the probable closure of their only city centre cinema which happens to be an Odeon. In this page from a York newspaper website their ongoing campaign to keep it open is chronicled and although some of the concerns are based on nostalgia, there is mostly a perceived need for the place to stay open because its one of the centres of the community. There is an online form to add your name to the petition to keep it open and even though I've never been to cinema, I love film and I believe its a right for everyone to have access so I've signed. Plus there are the campaign posters ...
Life After 9/11 Britain seemed to stop suddenly but after 11/3 although people whisper respectfully 'What about Madrid?' we carry on with our lives. In its own way the crash is no less horrific and the 'ease' with which it happened must cause pause for thought to anyone who gets on a train in the next few days. I heard someone on the radio suggest that we find crashes which are due to negligence more horrific because they could have been prevented. I think it depends how you define negligence...
Life John Hughes first teen movie, Sixteen Candles charts the disastrous sixteenth birthday of Samantha Baker (Ringwald in one of her best performances). Her spoilt older sister is getting married, and getting all of the attention; her younger brother seems to live his life just to get up her nose; her overbearing grandparents won't leave he alone; and worst of all, she has a crush on a senior who is stepping out with the prom queen. Although Hughes had yet to master the comic genius shown in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, we find here a test bed for all of the motifs found in later movies: teenage angst mixed with slapstick comedy; fantastic use of music; cultural stereotyping (here we meet a 'Crazy Chinaman' called ... Long Duck Dawn); and a stunning Anthony Michael Hall who offers us The Geek, a thoroughly despicable creature with a heart of gold who gets to fulfill the one great wish of every teenage boy. So not Citizen Kane, but worth seeing for a confusingly young John Cusack being thoroughly upstaged.
Life Lately there seems to have been a number of news stories stemming from someone saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and not knowing when to shut up. I'll let you fill in the blanks on what I mean. I had a similar moment of shame on the Magical Mystery Tour on Friday. We're at Arnold Grove were George was born. It's a small terraced house, just off the main street, quite anonymous looking. As I stood watching people getting their photo taken in front of the front door I started to whisper to someone I'd been sharing small talk with about a story a read in the Liverpool Echo the night before of how a group fans had wanted to put a plaque up on the wall to commemorate the place and how the house owned (who we had already seen sneaking a look at us through the curtains) hadn't been asked perm... I was interrupted by the tour guide.
"Are you talking about the plaque?" He asked.
"Yes. I was talking about the story that was in the Echo last night ..."
"I didn't read it."
I was going to stop talking but the person I was talking asked me what it was about. So I continued whispering.
"It said ... [insert gist of this article]."
About halfway though I realize that everyone is looking at me and listening. Someone else has chipped in and said that they'd read it and in a different paper. They looked at the guide as much to ask "Is this true?"
"Oh we're going to have a ceremony. Olivia's coming down and ..."
I don't know when to shut up so I ask ...
"But did you get permission from the householder?"
"Oh yes."
"But it said in the article they'd already had the ceremony." (who was I Lois Lane?)
"I didn't read the article..."
To be honest I don't know who was right. The person I was telling the story to originally before the turf war started asked me if I thought it was right. I told her I wasn't sure. But as the tour went on it became clear that the guide was a close personal friend of Paul and had even appeared in a film of the Beatles playing his best friend and with each story I sank lower in the seat. I'd been arguing the toss with someone who really should know. I spent the rest of the tour staying out of his way. And keeping my mouth shut.
Books I don't listen to local radio. Although there has been an explosion of stations in Liverpool in the past couple of years, none of them seem to be working for my demographic. The commercial stations are basically chart stations offering the playlist, the personalities between striking towards the lowest denominator, a mix of competitions and sport and little else, the only regional identity on offer the accents which appear on the telephone lines. The other option is the BBC, but they seem to want to attract an audience over forty. So I generally put Radio Four on whenever I am in the house and listen to music from cd and that tends to be case wherever I travel in the country - it just seems easier somehow, a commonality. The central theme of Travels With My Radio is that actually if you're visiting a place that the best way to get a feel for what's around is to listen to whichever local radio station you can find, because amongst other things it reflects the community you're joining, however briefly - and gives a thoroughly convincing argument during its two hundred and eighty pages.

The writer, Fi Glover is currently the chair of Radio Four's Broadcasting House, but at the time of writing the book she was over a stint on the old GLR (original stomping ground of Danny Baker, Nick Abbott and Chris Evans amongst others) and was just off one of her first contracts at Five Live. In her career she'd always heard about these idiosyncratic local radio programmes, and after experiencing them once during some work she did for the BBC's lamented Travel Show, at a loose end she decides to go off and visit some of these stations she'd heard about and meet the presenters to see if she can get to the core of what they do. So in a style similar to the books of Dave Gorman, but without the financially crippling bets that he has, she sets off around the world and the book is the story of these travels. She initially plonks herself down in Brussels in the final week of a station whose main purpose was to entertain and educate visiting businessmen and politicians and from there she meets presenters in war zones and the wee small hours of the morning, in disaster areas and syndication.

It's an extra-ordinarily engrossing read. Rather than offering short essays about each of the stations, Glover also offers a sense of what the place is about, from the hotel rooms to the local food. It's a travel book with a point and film adaptation I suspect wouldn't look too dissimilar to Lost In Translation in places. The broadcaster shows her workings throughout - so in Las Vegas she utterly fails to meet a DJ who broadcasts from the a bunker in the desert and but we don't care because the story behind her not getting there is just as interesting. In places it's also impressively personal. I've been listening to Glover broadcasting for years and like many of her colleagues, based on the work, they have a reputation for being a voice of authority. I'd imagined someone older than me, I suppose. So it's quite shocking to find someone who would only have been a year older than me at school and who's actually a very genuine person who's capable of making all the same mistakes you are. On more than one occasion she realizes she may have done and said the wrong thing and her embarrassment in genuine.

Any fans of Five Live's coverage should read the chapter in which Glover visits the temporary radio station was set up in Belgium during Euro 2000, when one of the national FM frequencies was given to the station to offer traveling fans a more localized coverage. Any idea that this was a slick studio operation are shattered when we find out that much of the shows were broadcast from lofts throughout the country. Again the workings are seen as readily recognizable personalities from the station such as Peter Allen appear away from the radio getting pissed after the England defeat. It's funny, touching and for anyone who knows the station utterly compelling.

Overall, the reader draws three conclusions. That local radio in the US is crashing because syndicated shows such as Howard Stern are run instead of a programme tailored to the local market to the extent that in effect you'll end up hearing the same shows wherever you are in the country, eradicating the idea that you can get feel for a place from its radio. Secondly, the internet is opening things up considerably because local radio is often no longer listened to just in that area. I listen to a New York University radio station online sometimes because I like the music they're playing. Thirdly that in fact local stations are an important part of the community. In a great chapter Glover visits Montserrat and discovers how that station saved people's lives when the volcano flowed and brought the community back together. So local radio is something we should all be supporting. I just wish sometimes in Liverpool that they offered something I would want to listen to.
Kids It's a loyalty card scheme for children. The idea is that cereals and other treats, instead of having some tie-in model from a film free in the packet has a voucher printed on the cardboard flap which can be collected together and put through a website and be redeemed for merchandise the kid (or I'm suspecting the adult) would actually want. This doesn't sound to stupid in principal, but two things trouble me. One -- it ruins the fun of standing in the supermarkert deciding which cereal to buy because the freebee is better and second it's called SwapItShop which is just a vowel and consonant away from Noel Edmunds. Which really can't be a good thing.
Music The majoriy of this NewsDay column might be interesting to White Stripes die hards, but its the single of the week section which offered one of my best laughs of the day:
"(Avril) Lavigne's new single, "Don't Tell Me" (Arista), sounds like Alanis Morissette covering Sheryl Crow doing a public service announcement for abstinence, with a chorus of "Did you think that I was going to give it up to you, this ti-ee-i-ee-ime? Did you think it was something I was gonna do?" It's bland and pandering, but some kids like that."
I think I'm possibly one of those kids. Which feels incredibly sad. Although I am thinking of buying the Amy Winehouse album on the strength of her appearance of Never Mind The Buzzcocks (it hadn't occured to me she'd be daft as brush) so perhaps the cools kids will let me play with their football again after all.
Obituary Spalding Gray found dead.
Life Last time someone asked me who I thought I was I wasn’t able to come up with a coherent answer. I gaped and asked them what they thought. It’s because generally because I don’t add up. The some of my parts aren’t coherent, they don’t fit together. It’s like I’m fractured somehow into all of these bits and pieces and when I try and slot them into each other the shape is all wonky. I’m never what people expect, but at the same time I never really know what I’m expected to be. I’m incomplete.