Who Christopher Ecclestone is The Doctor. They anounced it on the tv news and everything. I think they may actually really be making a news series. It feels real all of a sudden. [Outpost Gallifrey's News Page is keeping up with events].
History 1997 and I was staying at a caravan site in the North Wales with my parents for a week. On the Thursday a coach trip was organised to Ireland, taking in Avoka, home town on the television series Ballykissangel (RIP) and Dublin. Having spent more time than is actually needed in what amounts to a cute small village, we eventually arrived in Dublin at four o'clock in the afternoon.

A veteran of fitting a whole city into two hours, I knew that you should always pick just two things and stick with them. Attempt to see everything and you'll see nothing. Just be careful which two you pick...

Number one: Being a film fan it occurred to me on the boat over that Ireland was this whole other country, off the mainland. This meant that the laws which governed us didn't have to carry over there. It was wildly believed at the time that A Clockwork Orange was banned by the censors (although we eventually found out it was Kubricks idea). So it stood to reason (I think you can see where this is going) that it would be available in Ireland. So my first port of call was HMV. I was in an illicit mood.

HMV hadn't heard of the film. Or at the least the clerk hadn't. So I asked if there was a Virgin Megastore about. There was - a good fifteen minutes walk away. I'm working the time through in my head. It's already 4:20 - fifteen minutes there, fifteen minutes back - Kubrick 'heaven' - yep, it's worth it (I must point out I only knew film from its reputation as a 'masterpiece' -- how surprised were we when we all eventually saw it?). So off I trot. Through one of the prettiest cities in Europe looking for a shop I could visit at home...

I walk past it three times. It's the tinyiest Virgin 'megastore' I've ever seen. Trundle up the stairs to the video department and set upon the A-Z section. Starting with the As (yes I know). Then the Cs - still nothing. I even try the Ks - well all of Woody Allen's films are clumped together under his name so ... nope. I spot a clerk and go and ask her. Which neatly brought me to:

Number Two: The bet. When I was still a student I had an argument with a friend about which European city had the most beautiful women. I swore blindly it was Leeds (which is where I was studying). My friend rasped lyrically about Dublin girls. He'd only met three but that was enough. So we made a pact that when either of us actually went to Dublin we'd see and report back.

[I should interject here that I know that 'looking for a "banned" videos' and 'scoping the girls' aren't what most tourists would be looking for in Dublin, and to be honest now I might have sampled the architecture and the food instead of dashing about, I'll give my younger self the benefit of the doubt -- to be honest my curiosity is still at right angles to everyone elses].

Anyway, there and then my friend was proved right. This Virgin clerk was probably the most beautiful girl in a black sweatshirt I'd ever seen. Fiery red hair, deep green eyes. I was actually nervous about asking her to do her job.

'Um - have you errr - I mean...
'Can I help you?' She steps into my random muttering.
'I was just wondering - is A Clockwork Orange banned here as well?'
She beams at me.
''Fraid so.'
I must have frowned.
'But I've got a copy at home if you want to come around and see it...'

[Time for another bracket because this is turning in to the kind of story a 'bloke' might tell his 'mates' at the 'pub'. But regular readers will know that although I have a habit of embelishing, I never flat out lie to make myself seem good -- in fact I'll usually make myself look inane for a cheap laugh. But on this occasion this actually happened, I'm quoting verbatum and just to prove it I'm going to write it again.]

'But I've got a copy at home if you want to come around and see it...'
I paused. Well you would. Then I grinned.
'I'd love to ...' - and this is the hardest thing I'd ever had to say looking at my watch until then - 'but I'm leaving Ireland in an
She frowned. I frowned. This never happens to me.
'Oh well.' She shrugged.
'Thanks anyway.' I said brightly. And left. With an hour to walk aimlessly around Dublin and wonder about moving there...

[Although having visited Paris in the meantime I could tell my younger self that the girls there are really special and that he's got something to look forward to.]
Who The Ninth Doctor, some say alternate Doctor has a new adventure in The Feast of Stone. I haven't read it yet, but there may be vampires. Hey BBC, is this sudden fetish for the undead something we should be worrying?
Liverpool Life The children's author Jacqueline Wilson was at the WHS Smith on Church Street today signing copies of her new work. The crowd which turned out looked like a human monument to reading. The queue of people snaked all about the isles of the shop out of the door. During my tea break at about five o'clock I walked the length of the line on my way to Starbucks, following as it weaved in and out up the street stretching past large city centre branches of Next, HMV, Top Shop, Burtons, Littlewoods, Once and Dixons. Children in school uniform waiting patiently with their parents, many clutching one, two or even more copies of Wilson's books. There hasn't been anything like this in years -- not when Atomic Kitten or the Sugababes appeared at the Virgin Megastore, or even when the limited number of tickets for the Paul McCartney concert went on sale. And they were all there because they love to read, because they wanted to meet the person who tells them stories, in Wilson's case about their own lives. And most impressively the author when interviewed by local television said she would stay there as long as it took to meet every child and sign their book, until midnight if necessary. I passed by again at quater to nine and even though the line had retreated into the shop, a hundred people some of which I recognised from the back of the queue four hours earlier stood expectantly and at there was Wilson, still greeting each child as if they were the first presumably leaving the little message she's famous for and making them fans for life. [see also The Guardian]
Architecture When we moved back into our tower block after the move, we were able to take advantage of a whole range of new security measures. For someone to enter the building, they now have to buzz the intercom system at a gate on the road and then do it again at a door. No one gets in unless we want them to. But it's still the same structure. It's still a tower block. It still shakes in high winds. It's certainly not as secure as this new set of apartments in Stockholm:
"The building was originally constructed in 1971 for the postal service. As a product of the cold-war era, it was engineered to withstand aerial bombardment.
Slightly worried about that new glass frontage though.
TV Really pleased to see Hustle get a second series. Although it's no Spooks it's been a fun romp which for once doesn't portray its characters as being perfect -- in fact they're morally dubious through and through. They're only the heroes because the person they're swindling is even worse than they are ...
Film Disappointed to learn that Charlie Kaufman isn't a figment of his own imagination in this joint interview from The Onion with latest collaborator Stephen Gondry. In fact in the only photo I've seen of him, he just looks like a regular guy. Although more Rory McGrath than Nic Cage.
That Day As my taxi weaved through the streets I glimpsed St Patrick's Day night in Liverpool City Centre. My expectation was to see a Friday night atmosphere midweek. Instead there were sporadic groups huddled around the entrances to bars almost trying to tempt themselves across the threshold. Perhaps the week night only tempted the dedicated to stay out later. My lasting image will be of five girls trying to get on a bus without giant Guinness glass shaped hats falling off their head.
Plug! Emma Kennedy is running the London Marathon. You can sponsor her here....
Music The Beautiful South once sang 'Don't marry her have me ...' but they sang something completely different on the album, which always created that moment of tension when listening to the radio edit hoping that the 'right' version would get an afternoon airing. Now that tension returns with the new Alanis Morissette single. Our lady has agreed to rerecord the opening line because apparently the word 'asshole' isn't acceptable on US radio. Since I heard someone say something was bullshit on the Today programme on Radion Four yesterday morning before 8am I wonder which one we'll get over here. In other news Alanis will be opening for the Dalai Lama on the Ottawa leg of his world tour.
Blogging in the style of ... LinkMachineGo

[theatre] Gillian Anderson promotes her new play: ' "It feels so masturbatory, and it feels so fake, and I just don't understand why it has to be, why when someone is promoting a film they have to go and do four solid days, nine hours a day," she says. "The fact that you have to be raped in the process, have to be violated, ad nauseum ... " She puts her head in hands and sighs deeply. "Now I'm sounding sooo negative." '
[dvd] IGN reviews 'Ranson: Special Edition' in Region One: 'The Video: Now this is the first injustice in this so-called special edition. The specs say 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, but it's not. It's the original non-anamorphic transfer from the 1997 release. Now that's an injustice for a so-called "Special Edition." The video has a notable amount of dust and scratches on the print, and it looks dark, murky and extremely diffuse. Much of the detail, particularly in the grungy apartment where Sean is held and the Mullen apartment, is seriously deficient. On the plus side, colors are relatively steady, with acceptable black levels and solid colors overall, and the video is free of flicker or edge enhancement. But overall, the film looks a lot older than its eight years.'
>> Sore Eyes ... new look
>> Tom Baker ... gets steady tv work again
>> sedna ... new planet discovered
[quote] SpaceCoyote answering the AskMe question 'Why can't I fall asleep on my back?' ... 'When I was really little I remember waking up, and my stomach wasn't feeling too good, so I did what every kid would do, go sleep next to mommy in her bed. I'm lying there, half asleep, probably drifting into some daydream or another, and the scariest thing happened, I think what it was was that I let out a (relatively speaking given my size) huge fart. The sensation of that, as I was lying on my back on a waterbed, probably scarred me for a long time because I distinctly remember never ever sleeping on my back after that. I think I thought a monster was trying to get me.'
[games] Akira Kurosawa's film 'The Seven Samurai' becomes Playstation 2 game: 'Most of that action consists of hacking up enemies with a sword, and game designers added fighting to the beginning of the story, when players must recruit six more samurai. The company also shifted the setting from medieval Japan to a futuristic landscape filled with a dizzying variety of robotic-looking foes designed by the French comics artist Jean Giraud, who works under the name Moebius.' [via reblog]
[bdj] Sexblogs reports on Belle De Jour's book deal: 'Frankly, I hate all the speculation that Belle de Jour is fictional. Said rumor seems, to me, to stem from a conviction that a sex worker couldn't possibly be intelligent, literate, and self-possessed, and that sort of thinking makes me want to pound my head on the desk. That aside -- the blog is a great read, so I'm looking forward to the book.)'
[music] Anastacia wrote her new album during her Cancer recovery program: 'I had nothing left. I couldn't form a sentence and remember what I said. My voice was completely weak. I had insomnia, so instead of being extra tired, I was kind of just dumb and awake. But once I stopped writing, I felt better. I surrendered to it, finally. And the rest of the treatment was acceptable, in so much as I was able to accept everything that went on with all the side effects, without having to add writing an album that's going to hopefully keep me in this business.'

[The first in an occasional series. Just thought I'd try the blogging equivalent of the literary pastiche ... not spoofing though ... just trying to find a common ground between my interests and the work I'm homaging ... I thought I'd try LinkMachineGo first because it's one of the weblogs I've been reading the longest.]
Spam I've just received a porn spam with the subject heading, "You are totally wrong". That's just what you need to hear on a Sunday morning...