Scene Unseen: The Limey's Audio Commentary

Film In keeping with the scattershot nature of the editing of The Limey the audio commentary begins, not with the usual 'Hello my name is Steven Soderbergh' 'And I'm Lem Dobbs' but with outtakes from the commentary sessions and other isolated moments of speech mixed with the sound of technical difficulties (with some luscious profanity). It's quite a shock but at the same time it makes an utter change that the film makers care as much about the presentation of their ideas on the dvd as the film itself.

What follows is one of the most entertaining, freewheeling and experimental commentaries you're likely to hear. Its as much about itself as the film its essaying. Example: Fifteen minutes in and we approach the introduction of Peter Fonda's character and as the explanation for approach begins, the sound cuts out then returns, it jumps and echos, speeds up and slows down the sounds and words overlapping and complementing one another the director and writers opinions running up against each other. Certainly makes a change from hearing Rob Reiner get caught up in watching his own film (see When Harry Met Sally).

The other clear distinction is the need to communicate about the making of the film. One of the real issues which continues with commentaries is the seeming need of those involved to say how good everyone was to the point that every scene has a background of someone saying -- I love what he did, she did, they did without actually mentioning why they did it. Here all of that is a given. Except that there also seems to be a certain animosity between Soderbergh and Dobbs -- at times its amazingly terse and confrontational. Time and again the same discussion/argument develops and generally follows the same pattern:

Dobbs: I did this in the script. But you didn't like it and took it out.
Soderbergh: I didn't like it. I'm the director.
Dobbs: Screenwriters never get their own way.
Soderbergh: Well direct your own film.

But it's the perfect way to understand the differences between a film and a screenplay and the process which the text goes through. There is a moment in the film where The Limey explores the house of his nemesis and at the top of some stairs he finds a photo of his daughter. It sits in isolation. The writer said that he'd envisaged a wall full of pictures with this one in the middle, but because he didn't write that and set people follow scripts literally, instead we have the picture -- he's really not happy because it gives the picture more romance than he thinks is logical. Dobbs also points out all the scenes that Soderbergh wrote that he doesn't like ('I could certainly do without that scene which I didn't write did I?'), and it's a measure of both men that they can continue to remain friends and colleagues and not like each other's stuff. There is bags full of ego involved, but also an understanding that they can have their own opinions, not agree, but still create art.
Life Last day at work today with two weeks of nothing masquerading as a vacation ahead. Yeah!
Blog! For new readers (are there any?) when I blogged every day without fail, I had a blog of the day feature in which I linked an showcased what others were doing and commented on what they said. The archive of those posts is here. Anyway, I've been feeling a bit guilty of late that I haven't been linking elsewhere as much as I should so its time for the slightly less regular v2.

First out of the gate is Today In Alternate History, blogging the what if: For example:
"in 1984, John Lennon, an obscure musician who had once been in a band with international sensation Pete Best, writes a tell-all book about Best, detailing their crazy life in Hamburg, Germany, and their rough-and-tumble beginnings in Liverpool, England. The book, I Want To Tell You, is an international best-seller."

"in 2003, NASA detects movement in the Cydonia region of Mars as the Martian natives begin to rise from their centuries-long sleep. The first of many hostile ships is launched from the surface of the planet towards Earth."
Funny, original and literate.
TV Sapphire and Steel are back! In audio! On cd! Without Lumley or McCallum! Actually it's good to see Big Finish branching out into other areas and it'll be interesting to see where they take the thing. Bit insestuous on their part but can I suggest India Fisher for Sapphire? But what I'm really looking forward to is their possible continuation of Ultraviolet ...
Radio I haven't listened to Radio Five Live regularly for months. The most I actually listen to is Mark Kermode's film reviews if they bother to update the on-demand service at the website. It just seems to be driving itself closer to the middle of the road or so it seems. Actually I thought I was just hearing things, but now they've signed Eamonn Holmes to host a regular Saturday show, which feels like a bid to grab back some of the people who've disappeared off the Talk Sport and to level off what has always been a predominantly male listenership. And extraordinarily safe.

I think I'll stick to Radio Four. Did anyone here John Humphries absolutely demolish Michael Howard on The Today Programme yesterday morning? You can listen to it here for now if you've got Real One. Howard sounds as though he's making things up as he goes along, and often contradicts annoucements made by his own party. Why do they do it to themselves?
Politics As the Local and European elections splutter to a close over here, the US presidential election hots up. Can Dubya fight off the pressure from the John Kerry - 1969 Kerry campaign?
Life I did something today I've wanted to try since I was a child. I ran backwards up an escalator. It wasn't big, it wasn't clever and if the security at WH Smith has caught me I might have been banned from about the only shop I go in every day for my information fill. But I'd just stepped on and then I spotted the new issue of Word magazine on the shelf. It was the difference between the risk and having to all of the way into the basement and out again and getting back late to work.

I turned tail and started the slog. The problem is out running the stairs -- clipping upwards faster than the steps are being produced. The first few tries I was walking about on the spot. But little by little I faught the tide until one final giant leap led me back to the ground floor. Quickly glanced around to see if anyone was watch then went about my way. Never again.
Obituary Ray Charles has died
Food People eating at Katz Deli in New York from a Google Image search
Who Low Culture nicely sums up why Timelords are suddenly cool again:
"Some of it is being written by the same person who wrote Press Gang. This is nothing short of amazing, especially when you consider that much of the rest of it is being written by the person who wrote spook soap Springhill (not to mention a lesser-known series called Queer As something-or-other).
Actually I can't believe that at sometime in the near future I'm going to be buying a copy of a magazine with Billie Piper on the cover which isn't greeting me or telling me how it's feeling.
Commerce The 25 Wierdest items on sale at My favourite: Colossal Ten Pound Live New England Lobster [via zannah]
Film Kevin Smith isn't directing The Green Hornet after all and gives some good reasons. He says he's just too lazy to direct an action movie (although there are sections of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back which would suggest otherwise). He'll still be writing it though -- let's hope its not going to be a repeat of the Superman Lives fiasco. His next project instead is an ultra low budget piece in the Chasing Amy mode with some 'familiar faces' shot digitally. Could it be the rumoured sixth Askew-niverse film? A proper Clerks sequel? Remember when God appeared at the end of the last film, the book she was holding said 'The End?' -- that question mark has always interested me... [via News Askew]
Music Are the songs of today timeless? I suppose the lyrics of any age are roughly split between those which could be re-assessed or rerecorded in the future and those which will disappear into a kind of nostalgic haze and of their time. It's funny how Cole Porter, a man working nearly a century ago (give or take a decade) wrote things which continue to be current, but already Diane Warren (to victimise someone) is beginning to feel dated. The Atlantic tries to discover the method:
"Porter's first Broadway hit song was "Let's Do It," an endless catalogue of zoological promiscuity (some critics called it a "habits of rabbits" song) that captured the "just say yes" spirit of the twenties. Its musical sophistication matched its verbal aplomb. Porter had immediately broken some of the basic rules of American popular-song writing. Though you hardly notice it, the melody, beginning with its hook, is highly chromatic, and the harmony constantly mixes the major and minor modes in a way surprisingly reminiscent of Schumann or Brahms. It sounds like a simple tune ... but try finding the notes and chords on the piano."
The piece doesn't really have any answers, but the general feel seems to be that he was the Shakespeare of song. Which sounds about right.
People Since the Wikipedia is having issues, I'll share the following with you for now. It's a biography of Claudia Winkleman:
Claudia Winkleman is a television presenter and one of the current hosts of the BBC3 entertainment show Liquid News. The daughter of the former editor of the Sunday Express, Eve Pollard, Winkleman was born 15 January 1972. She began her education at the City of London School for Girls in the Barbican and later graduated from Cambridge University with an MA Hons in History of Art.

Winkleman's first appeared on local television, presenting the discussion programme Central Weekend. From here she has gone on to appear in a variety of formats demonstrating great flexibility. These include Talking Telephone Numbers, The National Lottery, God's Gift, Trading Up, Fan-o-rama, We Are Family, Toilets and most recently as the 'fanzine' presenter on Fame Accademy. She has also made guest appearances on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Have I Got News For You and The Wright Stuff. A long stint on BBC's Holiday programme culminated in a spin off prime time special in which she travelled the world in 34 days reporting from Japan, India, Costa Rica and Dubai. These experiences have led the presenter to become a regular travel writer, working for the Sunday Times, Independent and Metro. She is also a regular contributor to Cosmopolitan.

Claudia is married to PR Guru Kris Thykier. Their first child, Jake was born in March 2003.
During my research I turned up this website entry in which a contributor to her BBC Choice programme Toilets talks about his day with her. Some shows just demand a rerun...
Humour Welcome to the internet:
"How dare you! I used to beat the crap out of punks like you in high school/college!" You may have owned the playing field because you were an athlete. You may have owned the student council because you were more popular. You may have owned the hallways and sidewalks because you were big and intimidating. Well, welcome to our world."
Can I add (20) Start a weblog if you like but don't be suprised if, even after many years you don't get too many hits. It's not personal. It's just that there are millions of the buggers and only so many hours in the day. [via Fark]
Life As my morning bus trundled slowly up Renshaw Street in Liverpool, three hundred Japanese students seemed to appear from the same bus stop and were strolling towards nowhere in particular. It was an impressive sight as they weaved in dribs and drabs neatly weaving through the locals and lamp posts. Had a whole school gone on a UK trip or something else?
TV I think the following speaks for itself ...
"Internet Big Brother fans got more than they bargained for today when the live feed from the house broadcast on RealOne Player was temporarily plugged into pre-show floor management rehearsals behind the scenes at Big Brother's Little Brother ...

... At one stage, whilst watching a video monitor of live action from the house including Michelle changing, a male member of production staff is heard to say "Go on Michelle, get 'em out love, go on, ohhh - too late. Awww - OK so you'll give a bloke head on telly but you won't show us your nips. Fine. No puppies for Christmas."
See also the moment went the mask drops from Dermott O'Leary's face...
History On this day ... we'll never forget ...