Plus... I've finally started emptying my email inbox after a week or so of neglect and I thought I'd bring you the following...

Super Size Me -- Lengthy interview with Morgan Spurlock on the new film about Macdonalds : "By the middle of the diet, I would get massive headaches that could only be alleviated by eating. I was more depressed than I?d ever been in my life and my sexual prowess in the bedroom waned (I couldn?t salute the general.) By the end of the diet, I had gained 24.5 pounds (weighing over 200 pounds for the first time in my life), my cholesterol jumped up 25 points, my liver had filled with fat and I felt exhausted most of the time."

Life on the Fringe: a look at some of the underdogs of Canadian politics: "We do it because we feel that by developing discussion and showing people the importance of fighting for their rights, we are going to move from being in opposition to being in power," said Lang. "We feel that the [political] situation [in Canada] is not static. The system is in crisis. The big parties are unable to deal with the problems faced by society. We are putting forward real solutions. What is the ruling class? What is the subordinate class?" (sound familiar?)

Imogen Stubbs -- the Kylie Minogue of theatre? "It's something Stubbs herself first experienced earlier this year when he asked her to write a play about the singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley, a new passion of his. The resulting Beckettian two-hander, in which Buckley and Eva Cassidy, another dead popular singer, are marooned on a desert island, was workshopped at the Almeida."

US Government Documents Pulled Out of Public Circulation: "Each year, the federal government sends thousands of documents to Federal depository libraries, most of which are public and university libraries that have signed up to become depositories. Every once in a while, a few times a year at most, an agency realizes that it inadvertently sent out documents that weren't meant for the public. It then issues a recall of these documents, asking libraries to return or destroy their copies."
Music I can't stop listening to the DVD version of Shakira - MTV Unplugged which was produced just before the release of Laundry Service and covers her pre-English Language career. She sings like an angel frankly and the passion is all there. It's a bit of a shock to begin with though seeing her with that long burgundy coloured hair ...

Scene Unseen:
Amelie: Gnome

Film  This week I'm going to assume you've seen the film. If you haven't the following won't mean a thing and I suggest you go and watch it before coming back because it spoils the film a little bit. For people who are still here, this letter appeared in the 'You say' section of the Liverpool Echo last night. It's life immitating art for sure -- but is it by accident or a French movie reference?
Gnome truths

A PERSON or persons unknown stole a gnome from our front garden. They then sent me three picture postcards from France, with silly messages on them - supposedly from the gnome. Eventually it turned up on our doorstep with a small bottle of duty-free Jack Daniels tied to it and its face and hands had been painted a deep tan colour. I gave the whiskey away and scrubbed him clean.

If the person or persons concerned would like to take Mr Gnome on holiday again, will they please ask my permission first (as he may need a passport!) and please send him home with about 200 duty-free fags instead of whiskey.

Rosemary, Waterloo (Full Name & Address Supplied
Isn't that perfect?
Film or Gadget. A DVD Rewinder. "Too many DVDs, and CDs and not enough time to rewind? Are your DVDs running a bit too slow? The DVD rewinder is the perfect solution! This rewinder has the exclusive Centriptal Velocity Spindle providing the world?s fastest DVD rewind!" Be the envy of all your friends ... with special MP3 port as well. [via Gizmodo]
Film At the FACT Cente in Liverpool last week I was within spitting distance of film director Alex Cox (literally -- I was standing on steps directly over him as he passed by). I haven't liked any of his films not that I would say because I was always a fan of the BBC2 strand he used to present Moviedrome -- it introduced me to The Terminator (albeit in a cut version) and The Warriors. I always wondered why Mark Cousins took over and here he explains why:
"So Nick and I made a deal. The last year I did it, we agreed that if the foreign-language films were dropped, I'd go as well: I hadn't signed on just to present American, and a handful of British, films. And - in the suitably-inappropriate context of a swimming bath in Budapest - we shot an introduction to a magnificent double bill: two films by Francesco Rosi, Salvatore Giuliano and The Mattei Affair. No one honours Rosi now, but his talent, and his influence on the Italian cinema, are huge. Salvatore Giuliano was his first worldwide success, and The Mattei Affair (the story of the founder of the Italian petroleum business, probably murdered by the CIA at the behest of US oil companies) is one of the best films of all time. You can guess the rest. Salvatore Giuliano and The Mattei Affair weren't shown on Moviedrome. They weren't even purchased for broadcast by the BBC. The iron curtain had descended, shutting subtitles out, and so ended my talking-head telly career. I didn't miss it. But I did miss the subtitled films."
He portrays a fairly bleak picture, and it is. Although the TV version of Das Boot is doing the rounds again, the only place to see anything World is on BBC4 or the Sky Cinemas which is remarkably short sighted, especially when you consider how important the broadcast of these films could be as part of Modern Language courses in schools.
Email Google are literally throwing Gmail invites about. I've now got SEVEN to give away so EMAIL if you want one (that way I can get a valid email address from you to send it on -- someone asked for one last time but I couldn't help because they didn't leave a way for me to get in touch -- if that's you we'll try again).
Commerce I've just put a new sale up at ebay, the first ever issue of Retro Gamer magazine.
Football You see, it's results like this which stop me going over to soccer full time. I had a bad feeling going in (not helped by Graham Taylor predicting on Five Live before the game that we'd win on penalties) and so it proved. I think it was possibly all over when Wayne Rooney left the pitch. Or when our players realised they were playing again twelve players, one of which was wearing a black shirt. Of course if David Beckham has managed to get little ball in the net and had made any kind of impression during the game then it might have gone the other way. Will he be castigated in the papers tomorrow? Will they *&%$. Perhaps Caro should carry on wearing her 'bored of the beckhams' shirt in protest ...
Spam If the story about Jason Smathers the man who sold a list of 72 million AOL users to spammers doesn't give you the wiggin, wait until you read about what else he was up to online. Ghost sites picks up the tale.
Film The Firefly: Serenity movie site is up and has an official weblog. Bit buggy though ...
Film One of my favourite franchises lately has been the Taxi series of films from France, exec-produced and often written by Luc Besson. I've posted before about my trepidation about the US remake. I mean Queen Latifa in the main role? The trailer is online and seems to replicate the feel of the original film to some extent -- the stunts look as impressive anyway. So I'm quite looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.
TV In the Magnus days of Mastermind I used to watch all the time, awaiting the day when I would get a question right, or else see a specialist subject which I knew anything about. I never saw Star Wars appear once. Last night though someone asked for questions on Doctor Who, which struck me as suicidal considering there's over forty years of continuity to work through. They have to be quite easy really, like 'What does TARDIS stand for?' and 'Who played the Fourth Doctor?'

Well no actually. Even if you're fan, try your hand at the list which is now up at; frankly it's questions like "What name is given to the robotic servants of the PZ7E's computer Oracle who impose the computer's will on the Minyan?" which make me hope that the new series is at least comprehensible. I think I got about seven. The man on the show got 15/17 which suggests he had a copy of the Programme Guide copied onto his hand in tiny writing.
Film While we're in film list mood, here is the New York Times list of the best 1000 films. I've seen about three hundred of them. But hold on... No Clerks or Chasing Amy? The Ethan Hawke Hamlet? But you have included 32 Short Films about Glen Gould so I'll grudgingly forgive you ... [check BugMeNot for a login if you don't have one] [via]
Shakespeare was a woman or more particularly Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke. Caaf of Tingle Alley offers that link and some other ideas. My personal theory is that the plays were written by someone called William Shakespeare, who lived at about the same time the plays were written. But then I'm convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone so I'm not the person to come to for a discussion about conspiracy theories...
Employment This is were I really out myself as a Gawker reader. But I can't help but link to this email which a journalist at the NY Post sent to a fellow journalist which subsequently led to him being dismissed. Here is the clean bit:
"You're a lame and a pussy, Doug. And you should know better than to try and wage war on me. I'm better, stronger and smarter than you, you little Nancy. If I wanted to take your girl out, I would. You have nothing I can't take away from you, you non-man. Doug, you little tiny fairy, you arrested boy, I will break your back over my knee in the press and I will push your face inside-out in private or public. You've crossed a line that you are currently too insane to see that you've crossed."
I suspect his future job interviews won't be a million miles away from that scene in Jersey Girl:
'See I told you it would be him! You're a legend, man!'
'So can I have job?'
Film Music The AFI has released a list of the Top 100 film songs. Mostly quite fair actually for a change -- it takes cultural impact and quality as a guideline, and although musicals are included they haven't swamped the list. To give a more personal top ten as a contrast (although keeping the US only rule):

Let My Love Open The Door (Grosse Point Blank)
I Think I Love You (Scream 2)
Almost Like Being In Love (Groundhog Day)
Dyslexic Heart (Singles)
Save Me {Magnolia)
Feel Like Fred Astaire (Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Lawrence)
Stay (Reality Bites)
You + Me Song (Baz Lurhmann's Romeo and Juliet)
Across The Universe (Pleasantville)
The End (Apocalypse Now)

Just off the top of my head. Actually I'm amazed that last one isn't in there anyway. Especially since My Heart Will effing Go On did! [via]
Site News Lately I've become quite addicted to Syndicated News or RSS and I've been using Bloglines -- although there are other systems out there, this seems to serve my needs the best -- it means I can read far more sites than in the old days and I certainly feel like I've a better grasp what what's happening in the Blogisphere and beyond. One of the nice aspects is that users can share their subscriptions with their readers, so if you click here, you can read the same blogs I do and since they're selected by me, it's like having a constantly updated version of what I do here. One of the downsides is that you can become something of an RSS fascist, getting annoyed when your favourite sites don't have feeds and forget to visit them as often as before. But give it time ...
People Ben Affleck is the California Poker Champion. In more exciting news I've been listed in the scoop section on News Askew (where you can read the story).
Life My parents are away for the five weekdays this week so I've got the flat to myself. In my head I have an image of the scene in Linklater's Dazed and Confused when the kid is getting a keg of beer delivered. In practice it means I can have some time to myself and just be. A week and a half into my holiday now and I didn't even think about work until I wrote this sentence. It's some time since I felt this relaxed. I keep looking around furtively in case something major happens.
H2G2 The trailer for The broadcast of The Tertiary Phase of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (by Douglas Adams) It doesn't just sound great, it doesn't just sound amazing, it sounds amazingly amazing! [via]
Film Ok, lets begin. Kevin Smith's new film Jersey Girl has been publicized as his grown up film, his attempt at creating something which will attract a stronger mainstream audience whilst still retaining some of the sensibilities of his previous film. A sort of Chasing Amy with less swearing and substituting gender politics with the themes of fatherhood and much less swearing and in an even bigger departure NOT set in the world of Jay and Silent Bob, the View Askewniverse. A decent parallel would be that if he was Woody Allen, this would be his Annie Hall, a break from the earlier funny ones. As such it's had a wildly contradictory critical reaction and its not hard to see why.

So lets get the negatives out of the way first. This isn't the most original film ever made. In here you'll recognize elements of Jerry Maguire, About A Boy, Jack and Sarah and Bounce and a fair few tv movies. It's the closest Smith is going to get to making a Richard Curtis style Working Title film. But these are genre issues - watching Farscape you can hardly complain that you've seen space ships before. Also, without being too spoilery, the presence of Jennifer Lopez at the start of the film does weigh the thing down somewhat, perhaps, like the child it might have been nicer if we could imagine about her mother. And although the new CG View Askew logo at the start is lovely, it does rather reminds the viewer of who's going to be missing from the film.

But those are the only criticisms, because my god this is a great film. In all the right places, its funny, touching and exciting. It's difficult to talk about the plot because unlike other examples of the genre you aren't always sure what's going to happen next and that's partly because of the convincing work done by the actors. Ben Affleck's character, the same kind of fractured personality which he played Changing Lanes could go either way and does say some extraordinarily nasty things at times so you aren't sure if certain plot points will be played out. His leading lady, his character's daughter, Raquel Castro is real find -- like few child actors before her she can actually carry a scene all by herself even at her tender age. But that could be said of everyone in here. George Carlin is sweet as Affleck's father and Jason Biggs proves he can play sidekick just as well as the lead. Just like Elijah Wood in Eternal Sunshine ..., it's quite a shock to see Liv Tyler without her Elvin robes and ears as she demonstrates the abilities in light comedy which made Empire Records such a treat all those years ago.* There is also a great little performance from someone turning up for a cameo. I won't tell you who it is, but it rather reminds you that he was a serious actor once.

But what of Kevin Smith's work? It certainly feels more like a mainstream film than any of his previous efforts. This is obviously due in part to the hiring of the experienced Vilmos Zsigmond as his cinematographer this time, who gives the scenes a depth we haven't really seen before (not everything is done in a oner. Look see - actual coverage - cutting between people when they're talking!). But what stuns me is that it still feels like a Kevin Smith film. At times when he could have toned down his distinctive dialogue, he simply doesn't, leading to some wonderful riffs which you simply wouldn't find elsewhere. And don't believe the hype the pop culture references are still in attendance, just toned down here so that they aren't the point of the scene. Now that Kevin has passed on The Green Hornet because he said he never got into the business to make action films, if this is the kind of film he's going to be turning out, I'd be perfectly happy. This isn't a 'monumental achievement' but it'll make you laugh and cry in equal measure and sometimes that's all you need from a film.

* She obviously has a sense of humour too - either that or she hasn't seen the second episode of the Clerks Cartoon when Randall and Dante are locked in a freezer which features the following dialogue....
Randall: If you were Steve Tyler from Aerosmith and you could have any woman in the world, who would it me?
Dante (passionately): Caitlin...
Randall: See I'd choose Liv Tyler ...
Email Just a quick, late night post to say that I've got two Gmail invites to give away to the first two people to get in touch...
Blog! Having missed it myself, here is what happened to LoopyLibrarian Kieran when he visited the Mersey River Festival.
Travel For some reason, my Nottingham post didn't appear the other day, so here it is in its overlong verbosity. Apologies for any incoherence caused.