Sefton Park, Liverpool


Sefton Park, Liverpool

This is the 'classic' photo which was used at the title bar for the weblog for so many months. I've finally signed myself up to Flickr and thought this would be the perfect thing to start things with. We'll see how it goes...

'This city is definitely going places...'

The Road To Beijing The highlights of the Liverpool Triathlon appeared a week later on Grandstand this afternoon. Apart from the oddness of seeing a race like that happening in one's own city, I was yet again impressed by Michelle Dillon's agility. Not all that long after a similar feat at the Olympics she fought her way up the field, tiredness being the final barrier from winning the race. The BBC presentation of the race was just as unusual as the highlights package from Athens with Stuart Story throwing in really odd trivia about Liverpool and saying lots of nice things about the organisers. In other news, Abi Oyepitan will be busy at the Berlin Golden League in the Olympic stadium tomorrow night, appearing in the 100m. This wasn't her strongest event in Athens, so it'll be interesting to see if this offers any indicators as to whether she would be best concentrating on the longer distance.

' I've got to go to bed. I dread to think what I'm going to wake up to...'

That Day Three years on, and the creepiest abbreviation has become a shorthand with which we can all divorce an event with the date on which it happened. In the UK, we more commonly refer to it as "September 11th" which after a while will become curious -- in ten, twenty even thirty years only those who were alive now may have an understanding of what that means others will need the explaination which will take slightly longer, especially considering that the aftershocks are still rumbling on. In that Metafiler thread I said: "I've got to go to bed. I dread to think what I'm going to wake up to..." It was worse than I could have imagined. Does anyone know if the phrase 'War On Terror' had currency on and before September 10th 2001?

'Going underground (going underground)'

Cinemas This continues to fascinate, a cinema found in the subterranian end of Paris. While Stella Artois continue to sponsor the display of films in churches and courtrooms, the French are doing something even more interesting. The most exciting thing for me is the selection of films chosen: "The cinema, with restaurant and bar annexe, was open for a seven-week season this summer, showing a suitably subversive programme which included works by Chinese and Korean directors but also Alex Proyas' Dark City, Coppola's Rumble Fish, David Lynch's Eraserhead, and Terry Gilliam's Brazil." This seems to be the perfect environment for those. Can I also suggest Late Night Shopping, Blade Runner and Akira if they manage to burrow there way into somewhere else.

No they certainly don't

Art & Design From Flickr: "Gormley, Tate, Liverpool. attendants don't like you doing this." No they certainly don't.

Fametracker :: Blue Moons :: Fametracker's Ten Least Essential New TV Series, 2004

TV Fametracker survey's the least essential tv series of the new US season. In a world where Firefly can be cancelled you can bet Commando Nanny will run for ten seasons.

'What next?'

Life Last day of work today before a week's holiday. This particular period between vacations has felt particularly hard for some reason -- I have a theory that my entire being shuts down during Summer which means that I never get anything done, co-herent thought goes out of the window and I basically batten down the hatches until the cool weather returns. Hence the rather variable quality of the weblog because once I get home, I've watched a dvd and I come online the last thing I have the energy or inspiration for it writing these words. But the evening's are getting cooler so expect some choicer words now. Also to the surprise of some of the people reading this I'll be visiting Cardiff in Wales for a few days next week (shamelessly because it's were they're film the new Doctor Who) so if anyone has any ideas for great places to visit, let me know -- I'm particularly wanting a nice restaurant or live music venue for when I'm at a loose end in the evening.

'But this beer is warm...'

Liverpool Life Wikipedia entry for Ye Crack pub in Liverpool City Centre. 'It has historical connections with The Beatles and the development of Muscle relaxants in modern surgery.'

And of all the titles, why that one?

TV Three weeks into NY-LON and I still can't decide whether I'm enjoying the show because its very good or because its utterly different to anything else out there and I'm reveling in the shock of the new. Certainly the appearance of Emily Corrie this week was a shot in the arm and I hope they find something else for her to do other than stand around and be sarcastic (although that was OK). It's not really the premise which is at fault here, I think it's the execution. I would have started the show with the long distance relationship already in place and then it could have been about the stresses and strains of keeping a relationship like that together when both parties are apart.

For me, in that first episode Michael didn't seem to have enough motivation to fly half way across the world to date Edie. Yes she's lovely and different to anyone else he's ever met but because we don't know anything about him we can't really follow why he would plunge into such a desperate act. Imagine how much more redolent it would have been if he had to sit down and relate the story to another character at some other time. Screenwriter William Goldman bangs on about this stuff - you have to earn the moments.

Part of the problem is that it wants desperately to be Cold Feet. You can see that in the way that it forever shifts time about. We'll see an action, a clock appears, drifts backwards and then we see everything leading up to that action from another character's point of view. It adds a kind of false tension and feels vaguely out of step with the stories being told. Cold Feet frequently had a dramatic moment leading into a break, then after the ads you'd see one of the characters in a bar telling his friends what happened after that, perhaps intercutting it with a different perspective. It felt real there. Here, it pulls the viewer out of the action at crucial moments and also seems to be a shorthand so that we don't have to see the difficult scenes which could cripple the tone (that's providing drug overdoses, accidental pregnancies and potential financial desolation don't do it for you instead).

But I don't come to bury the show. It looks excellent - it's a real shock to see New York in so-called British style photography which doesn't emphasis the enormity of everything. And the playing from everyone is uniformally great (apart from in Michael's workplace were everyone seems to be auditioning for the Eighties film Dealers). I just think it could have been a breezy romance but at the same time say a lot about the isolation of relationships and coping with the love of your life being a big sea away which leads me to the one oddity which hasn't fully been explained. Given that last minute tickets to New York are upwards to three hundred pounds, who in the real world has a salary to cover that kind of commitment?

This and that

The paper plane which flaps
. Apparently. I've made it and thrown it across a long room, but of course because it was drifting away from me at high speed it was very difficult to tell. [via]

Old article from The Onion nearly accurate
-- biting satire almost completely becomes reality. Seriously Republicans, surely you don't think this guy is the right person to lead your party into another election? Or have I missed something fundamentally important? [via]

Not every photo is as it first seems
: "In the July 2004 issue of National Geographic, we published a story about elephant hunting in Tanzania by the Barabaig people. To our profound disappointment, we have learned that we were misled by the photographer and that three of the published photographs do not accurately depict the situation described in the accompanying text."

Hours of listening pleasure

TV Low-fi blogging still tonight, so for your reading pleasure, can I direct
you towards off the telly's latest issue, and their article ragarding original music. Amen to one of the classics of my youth Top TV Themes.

"This script is fantastic."

TV I couldn't not mention that Simon Callow will be playing Charles Dickens in the new series of Doctor Who. He says: "To be honest, when they sent me the script, my heart sank," he told the newspaper. "As I know all about Dickens, I can say with authority that most attempts to put him on screen are awful - and there are a lot of them. But this script is fantastic." Which is really good news in and of itself -- Callow has played Dickens on stage for some years in a one man show (you might have seen him doing it at Christmas) so he really does know his stuff. Something in the style of The Talons of Weng Chiang on the horizon?

Beauty On The Fire

Music Which annoyance decided to put copy protection on Natalie Imbruglia's 2002 album White Lilies Island? I paid for the thing. I own the thing. So why can't I listen to it my own way? It just means I've got to create the thing myself using tracks from the singles...

Rip, rip, rip

Life Too hot to breath tonight, my little fan in my room hardly doing the job. Spending the night clearing all the things I need to get around to in Bloglines and complete the great ripping project of all the music I own onto my PC -- by the end of the night 98% of all the music I own will be in clicking distance. Oh the power.

'What can I say -- I have a thing for girls who say aboot....'

Linguistics Not entirely serious piece from The Morning News about faking accents to get yourself out of or into a jam. The British:
"Actually Priscilla -- I mean, well, it's right polite to have us up and all but down at the pub see, well, Priscilla, it's not that I shouldn't but my mates and all, I mean, Bob's your uncle, love, or he's not and still -- no, sorry, yes I'm sorry -- but you don't mind much, but no of course, well gosh, silly me, yes -- well goddammit Priscilla why yes, yes, oh excellent."
Yes, that's exactly how I talk.

Versatile new kitchen implement

Gadgets I'm assuming the tin of soup is the size of a small moon. [via]

The Ultimate Told You So

The Road To Beijing The results are in for today's Liverpool Tiathlon and Michelle Dillon came in second a full minute behind Liz Blatchford (who had failed to make the Australia team for the Athens Olympics). Other implications have appeared in the reporting of the event because after gaining dual citizenship, Blachford is eyeing a place in the British Commonwealth Games Team instead which could push Dillon out of going to Melbourne in two years -- and todays performance isn't going to hurt that bid. Early days yet though and many more races to come. As Michelle says: "There's still a bit of Athens in my legs, the race was only 10 days ago. I was absolutely shattered and knew reaching Liz would prove to be too much." Even with that she managed to post the quickest 10k run of the day. I think one of those great rivalries is in the offering here though.

Meanwhile, The Independent are talking about Abi Oyepitan as a new role model:
"Having clocked 11.17sec for 100m at the Norwich Union International in Birmingham in July, missing Cook's British record in that event by just 0.07sec, the slightly built Oyepitan, one of the featherweight breed of speed merchants, is threatening to drag British women's sprinting out of the distant past and back to the future.

"I am pleased with what I've achieved this summer," she reflected as she waited for the awards presentation for her event on Friday night. "I just want to build on it for next year. I need to get stronger and I also need to run the bend better in the 200m. I'm hanging back too much. I'm too scared of getting tired in the home straight."

The room for further improvement merely underlines the depth of Oyepitan's talent - talent that earned her the World Student Games 100m title in Beijing in 2001. After four more years under the direction of Tony Lester at the Thames Valley Athletics Centre in Eton - training in the company of Marlon Devonish, the third-leg runner in the Olympic champion 4 x 100m relay team, and Tim Benjamin, who reached the 400m semi-finals in Athens - she could well return to the Chinese capital as an Olympic medal contender in the summer of 2008.
I don't think this is hyperbole. There is a real buzz surrounding Abi which can only grow.

'And measure still for measure ....'

Theatre The Globe's latest production of William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure as broadcast live on BBC Four last night was difficult. As my favourite play of the canon, of course I do have my own ideas of the perfect version and how certain scenes should be played; also with the filter of television between the viewer and the production. But for what is quite a prestigious show this was just maddeningly inconsistent. The reason Measure is forever listed as a problem play is because it skirts both through comedy and tragedy but in its use of language latter very much edges it out. This time at The Globe the players are emphasizing the former which in places sucked the pathos and tension from the scenes in which we should be on the edges of our seat.

A prime example is Mark Rylance's Duke. In pretty much every other reading and performance of the play, The Duke is a manipulator, controlling the action from behind the scenes covering up the cracks which have appeared during his reign. Here he appeared a buffoon, playing everything by ear and taking himself out of actions he is creating, at times clowning around to that point that we can't take him seriously in the all important final act when he has to take charge - when he orders Angelo around its difficult to perceive why his deputy crumples so easily. I'm happy for experimentation but it needs to be consistent with the language and characterization and as times it didn't fit together for me.

The other issue was the playing of said language in leading the perception of the audience. Although there are some funny lines, this presentation was beset by moments in which a linguistic trick, added to emphasise a theme or idea were played as a joke causing the audience to laugh dragging them out of the scene. In Act Two for example, when Isabella makes her impassioned plea to Angelo to save her brother and in the next scene but one in which is suggests a liaison as a bribe we should be horrified by this man of power using his masculinity to manipulate such a virginal feminine figure. Played well and with the right amount of malice that's what you get. Here, even with an attempted rape somewhere in there the audience laughed nervously through it - not because its actually funny but because the actors (Liam Brennan and Sophie Thompson) accentuated the puns meaning that the audiences fell into the usual peer pressure based laughter which happens in these situations. It's distracting and makes the people who hadn't seen the play before leave with the wrong impression.

One of the best performances I've seen of the play was in a tiny venue at the Edinburgh Festival. That was all about darkness, any comedy a desperate attempt by the characters themselves to leaven a horrible situation. Somehow that gripped and managed to get by without unexpected prat falls, jigs with the condemned man between acts or end in a dance number which ruins the final moments of the play when The Duke drops his bombshell proposal on Isabella. It's annoying that this weird approach devalues what is not only one of Shakespeare's forgotten best plays, but also stops new viewers from falling in love with it the way I have.