TV Me at 3:30 this afternoon: "Oh God. This is so good. How the hell, why the hell did they cancel this?" This weekend I'm watching Firefly.

Scene Unseen: The Thomas Crown Affair: Take the Monet and Run

"Anyway we did an elaborate thing of folding the painting into the brief case and people were so offended by it that I sorta hadda cut it out and make it much briefer." -- John McTiernan, director.

I first saw the modern remake of The Thomas Crown Affair when I was working at an art gallery and the dislocation between what appears on the screen and the actuality of the administration and staffing of a museum were fairly stunning. For the first time I knew how a doctor felt when watching e.r. or a cop watching a police procedural -- trying to enjoy the piece of entertainment for what it is while at the same time know were all the inaccuracy and whitewash appears.

Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) concocts an elaborate scheme featuring a bunch of non-descript East Europeans who are trying to steal a bunch of paintings from one end of the gallery while he 'borrows' a Monet from the other. So far, so intriguing. Funnily enough I can live with most of what happens -- I worked in a provincial gallery not the major metropolitan Manhattan artifice which features in the film. But this moment pops me out every time and only the appearance of Rene Russo in those boots flicking her car keys in that way can drag me back in again.

The problem comes when he steals the painting. He rips it from the wall, knocks it out of the frame, opens up a briefcase he had stashed under a nearby bench, lays the Monet into a case which he then closes, literally folding the painting in half. He carries it home, where in a later scene it appears entirely unharmed, hanging on the wall. Can someone explain to me how he managed to do this without destroying the painting!?! If you fold canvas in half it creases. Add in the oil paint and it'll fray as well; then there's the wooden back frame which would have been too rigid the fold anyway. So what ever happens you've got a conservator's nightmare at best and an international treasure destroyed at the other.

On the dvd commentary John McTiernan elaborates that they did have a whole plan set out for how they would justify the folding of the painting. He doesn't go into much detail, but it has something to do with the breaking of the back frame to give the painting greater flexibility presumably so that it would bend into the case rather than fold. So this is in fact a great example of the decision a director has to take between going with pacing in the editing suite rather than reality. And what really interests me that he says that people were offended by the process of the getting the painting into the case 'safely' because it took too long. Which sounds like some kind of madness. Or am I an art lover who takes things too seriously?
Life Goodness where did all these 'things to do' come from? Back soon.

Update: Couldn't stay away. Actually, tonight I went into town with Fani and after a coffee and carrot cake went to the John Moores University for a drink. I haven't been to a student union bar for a few years and apart from the stark realisation that I was old enough to be the lecturer of the clientelle, I was suprised at how little things have changed. I don't know what I was expecting, but it could have been ten years ago. All I could think was -- 'If I'd known then what I know now...' Any differences were fairly subtle -- people seemed more tactile than I remember, there were more mobile phones out on tables and when people began to sing along with Oasis' Wonderwall on the jukebox it was in an slightly ironic way, unlike during my time when it was the anthem of a generation.
TV That said, the new TV Cream-Up is out with a Britpop special. Also with free April Fools round up:
"How relieved Radio 1 listeners must have been on April 1st 1991 when Mark Goodier presented Simon Bates' programme, announcing that Bates had left the station to become European Minister For Pop, with quotes from Ted Heath to back it up. Sadly, it turned out to be a lie and he was back the next day to be smug about it. The wheeze was actually created by Nicky Campbell (who got Heath to offer comments after he'd been on his show a few weeks before) and, in an e-mail to TV Cream, said he got a bottle of champagne from Johnny Beerling for his trouble. Another notable radio April Fool came in 1995, when the day landed on a Saturday, and Chris Tarrant did his normal breakfast show on Capital pretending it was Friday, and hundreds of commuters believed him and started going to work."
Aaah -- the good old days ...
Life When a date like 20042004 arrives it feels like it should be a landmark -- more unique than others, even though obviously no two dates are exactly the same. I want to be able to tell you that lots of exciting things happened today, but it was just another example of the routine I've drifted into, of work and sleep. Fielding suggestions...
Sport Some alternative views of yesterday's London Marathon:

"Lorraine Kelly, that doyanne of daytime telly passed us at mile 21. She was small and looked very red in the face but she was smiling and she was running whereas we were walking. I looked back and caught sight of her as she came through. "Oh Lorraine Kelly," i said to her. "Well done. Keep on going!" She just stared ahead and nodded a bit and laughed in that way you do when you've just run 21 miles of a marathon. After she passed I wondered why I had proffered such ecstatic encouragement to someone who was, let's face it, just doing the same thing as me but there was something about her tiny frame and the fact that she is off of the telly that lifted the cheers out of my body like a big cow being rescued from a ditch in Accident programme 999. Anyway, the point is this. We beat her. Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Lorriane Kelly. You are rubbish." -- Emma Kennedy

"The weather was terrible. I think it rained most of the time, but I honestly can't remember. It must have been much worse if you were a spectator. The crowds were amazing - they say over half a million people were on the streets - and they lined pretty much all of the route. The crowds at Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and Embankment were fantastic and they certainly helped to push us on. Riette, Jo and Dad were waiting at Tower Bridge and it really helped knowing they would be there. It was a marathon for them too - having to wait around in the pouring rain for six hours! We also saw other friends around the course, so thank you all for coming out to support us. " -- Chiles Eats Miles

"It was around this point that I had to finally accept that I probably wasn't going to win the race after all, though I did find myself hoping that some kind of virus would attack all the other runners, but I would be immune. Though I concluded that if I was going to win I wanted to do it honestly, so I kept the vial of ebola (and the antidote) secure in my pocket throughout. Suddenly as I reached the twenty mile mark I had a surge of energy. It proved just how psychological a journey the Marathon is. Knowing that I wasn't all that far from Tower Bridge gave me such a lift, and my I realised that it had been my mind, rather than my body that had been putting up the resistance in that Hellish middle section." -- Richard Herring

And I sat at home and watched it on the couch cheering all on (even thought they couldn't hear me) ...
Film Where the hell did this come from? That's not the answer...
Life And so the circus rolls out of town. The tent was down an hour or so after the final show and by now the trucks are disappearing up the road, the only parts visible the lights. There was some exciting interactive entertainment. The fencing which surrounded the parimeter of the compound disappeared this morning. As the final preparation were happening for the folding of the tent, four teenagers, about fifteen years old started hanging about at the top corner -- we could see them from the flat. Every now and then they stalked the site, approaching a caravan then running away. It was fairly obvious with the pointing they were looking for an open window or door. So I went online and found the telephone number and we rang the circus box office. They took the details and thanked us -- and we stood frustrated as the boys continued to chance their arm.

Then from the back of the tent, what looked like the strong man (remember this guy has a truck driven over him twice a day) appears in a hard hat and starts striding towards them. He's followed by another worker in a boiler suit (insert YMCA joke here). The boys are startled and start to run away but stop as the men start to walk back to the site -- and onto one of the crew buses which they then proceed to drive in the direction of the teenagers who scarper pretty quickly. The bus continued past the trees on the other side of the field so I don't know what happened from there but I suspect the boys were halfway to Manchester...
Words I was always suspicious of the validity of using 'blogging' as a description of what I do. It's like 'hoovering', a branding name turned into a verb. And like that word, if I'm using a Dyson, I still say I'm hoovering things up -- so if I get huffy and move over to Movable Type or god forbid LiveJournal I'll still be blogging. Disturbingly, I discovered when editing a post the other day, Blogger itself doesn't recognise 'blog' or 'blogging' as valid words in a spell check even though they rely on that software for their very existence:

'Blogger' isn't recognised either -- it ironically suggests 'blocking' as an alternative. Yes it should prove that the spell checker has an accuracy to it. But Microsoft is recognised and that's not a real word. So who is right? On a corporate level that seems disasterous. But perhaps Evan and the guys should console themselves with the fact that they've led to a word at least colloquially entering the public realm even if they themselves don't consider it worthy of their own dictionary*. I mean when was the last time we said we were exceling in something and mean a spreadsheet?

* But is the dictionary could be a bought in construct -- in which case is it time to go in house?
Film If only The Guardian's website offered this feature of an immediate right to reply. At FilmJerk someone takes exception to the reviewer's summation of Christina Ricci's acting talents...
"That lame ass critic can bust Prozac Nation, but don't rip into this actresses talented career. My thoughts are that this critic is extrememly novice and can't wait for his moment to make judgemental comments like the ones he has in his review.
A cinema release for Prozac Nation (the film under review) looks increasingly unlikely if this is anything to go by.