It's all too much.


It's all too much.
Originally uploaded by aphasiafilms.

The flickr note for this is ... "Gordon went a little... well he started climbing trees." This photo's probably made my day.

'I only knew you for a while, I never saw your smile, til it was time to go away ...'

Life Virginia Madsen has always felt to me like the one who got away. Like an Eighties Monica Potter she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong films, one breakthrough moment away from being a household name. Horror fans might know her work in Candyman and fantasy fans will have noticed she was in Highlander 2 as they were walking out. But to me she's Madeline in the prophetic Electric Dreams, breaking three hearts at the same time, Miles Harding, his computer and mine. Now here she is in the fantastic Sideways one nomination away from a statue. I think she's basically finally won hearts via a single speech she gives at the heart of the film in which her character Maya explains why she loves wine. I won't give away the details, but by the end you'll love wine and love her too.

But that's one of the great things about Sideways -- the chance to see actors I've whose work I loved for years, which no one else has heard of in something which everyone is talking about. I was afraid Paul Giamatti was going to end up being 'the guy from American Splendor' for the rest of his career but here people are putting a name to a face they've been seeing for years. Look at his filmography there are very few films you haven't heard of. In fact in some he's even played proto-Miles, especially Bruce Paltrow's Duets in which karoke was his love instead. Sandra Oh might look like a discovery but she's equally always been busy (Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Film to Under the Tuscan Sun). I remember her from Last Night and The Red Violin in which she had a quiet dignity far removed from Stephanie. If I'm being honest though I've never watched the sitcom Wings so I don't know about the cult of Thomas Haden Church. But is in George of the Jungle which is good enough for me.

In casting these actors, Alexander Payne knew exactly what he was doing. Apparently George Clooney was actively campaigning for Giamatti's part. Extrapolating that further, we could have ended up with Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and introducing some young actress. All perfectly fine actors and they would have essayed their roles well, and the chemistry would have been there, but it would have felt false -- this didn't need a successful cast -- a dream cast. It needed a group of actors who all seemed kind of familiar without being 'famous' because these are characters who are just like us or people we know. Very refreshing.

A Half Moon Bay Hamlet

Klaus: Gertrude, I have to now why your son is acting strange.

Peter: I think your son is mad. He has no brains. All he wants is my daughter. You should send him away. Get him out of Half Moon Bay. Send him over the hill.

Gertrude: I can't. He's the only son I have.

Klaus: It would be better for us if he leaves. It would be better for him, too.

Peter: I will spy on him for you to see if he really is upset about Ophelia or if he's having problems with drugs.

[Developed by the students in Ms. Lunstroth's Senior English Class] [via street computing]

Me: the entire play?

"I just had a patron call and ask me to print out "Hamlet""

50 Book Challenge: Hamlet

"During this play, it felt as though Hamlet could to nothing but wine/bemoan his existance. Even from the very beginning - before he learns of his father's murder - he is considering suicide. Yes, his father is dead and his mother married his uncle not long after, but GET OVER IT."

Alas, 'Hamlet,' you're a shadow of yourself

Wierd editing at a production by the Keyhole Theatre Company at the Josephinum, North Oakley: "And don't blink, because you'll miss some rather key moments, including the all-important "Mousetrap" scene in which Hamlet catches the conscience of the king. That's right. It's not there. This is one of the most bizarre decisions anyone could make, as it's one of the few moments in which Hamlet decides to do anything. Most importantly, it's the scene in which Hamlet lets Claudius know that someone knows how King Hamlet died. Without this scene, we forget about Hamlet midway through the play and begin to focus on Claudius (well-played by Kyle Lemieux). And rightly or wrongly, we begin to sympathize with the false king, because in this version it's guilt, rather than fear of exposure, that inspires Claudius to pray."

Make time for 'Times Like These'

New piece features unusual play within a play which sounds like Shakespeare meets Mel Brooks: "Dressed in the uniform of the SS, Oscar portrays Hamlet as a power-hungry, unstable individual who is not to be trusted. Ophelia becomes a stand-in for Germany, who is victimized by false promises and Hamlet's abusive behavior. Though the outcome is inevitable, playing out their hopeless scheme adds tension to the play and unites the audience to their cause."

Public Theatre of Kentucky presenting Shakespeare tragedy

Lanham's love of Shakespeare began last fall when he performed in a production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at Western Kentucky University. 'There are several parts in 'Hamlet' that I would have liked to play. I love Shakespeare,' he said. 'He's one of the few writers that directs from the grave. You can find out everything about a character in the lines that are spoken.'

Links for 2005-01-27 []

Links for 2005-01-27 []

  • Color Fields Color Finder
  • A video game is purchased every eight seconds
    .. with a list of other things. Amazing and frightening in equal measures.
  • Video of Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh in 1984 (
  • Wind-Up Mobile Phone Charger
  • The Aleks Shrine's interview with Krotoski
  • The Aleks Krotoski Shrine
    Not that I was ever this much of a fan. Although I think everyone deserves a fan site.
  • Mindy reacts
    One of my old Blog!s has had to move her site because of attention created by a magazine article. She's putting the record straight at her old domain...
  • Penny Drop

    The colour in red wine comes from the skins. Yes, I know. Guess which film I saw tonight.

    I'm sorry I'm just going out for some air...

    Elsewhere Erm ... Heardsaid was the Pick of the Day today at The Guardian's Newsblog. Here is a link to the entry. Thanks Sheila Pulham!

    'So was she wearing panties?'

    Life I had hoped to be offering you stories of the upkeep and restoration of antique ships tonight. There was talk advertised at the Merseyside Maratime Museum at the Albert Dock and since I seem to be in the mood for sitting in a room and listening to experts lately I thought it would be interesting. So after stopping off at Starbucks for a caramel something or other I head off to the dock, which due to the Paradise Project blocking the direct route is some walk from the city centre now. There first indication I had that something was incorrect were the people in period costume milling around. Then I remembered this exhibition is opening tomorrow and that I'd stumbled into the private view. Aware that people were looking I fought my way through sand bags and barrels and spoke to the security guard on the door. The talk had been cancelled and I was the first to turn up. He really didn't know what to say, although after chatting with someone inside he did offer a voucher for a drink and cake in the museum restaurant when it was open, so not a completely wasted journey. Came home and watched the fabulous Otto Preminger film Anatomy of a Murder for the first time instead happy that all things eventually balance themselves out.

    Hang on, didn't you?

    On my home tonight a woman came and sat on the seat across the isle away from me. I spent some of the journey trying to remember were I'd seen her before. Then as I was getting up to get off the bus I noticed she was standing in front of me and that I knew who she was ...

    Me: Can I ask you a completely random question?

    Her: I you like.

    Me: Did you ever play Ophelia in Hamlet at the Unity Theatre?

    Her: Ooh err. Yes. That was six years ago ...

    Me: I have a good memory for faces and ....

    Her: You would have seen me completely mad and singing ...

    Me: I just thought you were really good.

    Her: (laughing) Thanks very much.

    We parted company after that, walked our separate ways.

    Virtual economy

    Virtual economies of the massively multiplayer online role-playing game industry are beginning to have real world implications. Apart from the fact that avatars are being bought and sold on ebay, one academic believes after totting up the going rate for virtual credits in the real world that collectively they have the same economic value as Bulgaria, and that it would be even more if Everquest didn't ban sales of its 'assets' in auctions. Even more startlingly, considering the implications of this, there are currently no tax rules, so anyone earning through this technique would not necessarily be compelled to declare.

    Bits and pieces

    Life I've just returned from seeing Aleks Krotoski's talk at the FACT regarding social interactions within virtual worlds and their implications within the real world. To a degree I was approaching it in the same way as I might go to a book signing or a concert, to meet the person. Or if I'm being honest I just wanted to see in real life someone who in my mid-twenties I had a terrible crush on.

    Fandom is a curious and puzzling thing. I think everyone has a list of people they would like to meet if the opportunity arose. This list generally includes people in the public eye. So off the top of my head, Kate Winslet, Woody Allen, Alanis Morissette and Michael Palin plus many others. There are also those who are prominant in whatever hobby or academic field you're following. Then there are some which you've just kind of followed for no readily connected reason but because you like their work, whatever that is.

    So there I was tonight, two rows back from the person I'd watched on Channel 4's Bits in the middle of the night and whose weblog I still read on a daily basis. Like anyone in this kind of situation I was nervous before I went in and sat for the first ten minutes in utter disbelief that she was there. It makes no sense at all because the chemical reactions had dissipated years ago. But somewhere in minute eleven I forgot she was someone I'd wanted to meet for years and began to listen to what she had to say. I've written about that here. At minute twenty I asked a question and by minute forty-five I was involved in a discussion about social unrest within gaming environments telling an anecdote about Star Wars Galaxies, which Aleks then later used as an example when talking about something else.

    It's probably not very flattering, but it was almost like the time I bought a Walkman. This was a way of giving that younger me in the past something, nourishing the soul. I wonder if when Aleks looked out at the sea of heads tonight she imagined that anyone was there for the nostalgia of it as much as the academia and just grateful that she turned up in Liverpool tonight.

    Updated: Saturday, 5 February. Aleks has mentioned one of my discussion contributions in this post at The Guardian Gameblog. She says: "As an example, one member of the Liverpool audience brought up the mass movement in Star Wars Galaxies against a designer-led decision. The result was a gathering of thousands of people and a crashed server." Very odd feeling seeing something you said somewhere written about in this way. Actually it's hilarious.

    'Have you got time for a cup of coffee?'

    Film The Oscar nominations tell their own story, but I was wondering if anyone has an answer for the following question. How come Before Sunset's nomination is as an Adapted Screenplay. What was it based on, other than the original film? Does that mean all sequels are adaptations?

    An adaptation completely in Bahasa Malaysia

    "Hamlet in Bahasa Malaysia is much more interesting than the original thing. It didn't sound like the bad dubbing that we usually get in (non-English) foreign-language TV series like Maria Mercedes and such. In fact, the language made Hamlet more accessible and closer to home. Sure, Yap does speak with a Western accent, but some Malaysians do speak Bahasa Malaysia like that. "It's not as hard as I thought it would be. I was Malay-educated," said Yap. "I just have to do it over and over again."

    'Put this dress on woman!'

    Film Tonight's film course film was The Legend of the Suram Fortress and during its 87 minute running time it managed to quickly jump into my top five most difficult films of all time. That's difficult to watch; films so different to everything else that you're seeing something totally alien. A brief synopsis would be: a group of Georgians are trying to build a fortress to defend themselves from invaders, but every time they are about to put on the finishing touchs, for no readily apparent reasons it collapses. So they go and see a fortune teller who advises them that if they want to get the fortress to stay standing, they need to find a youth, a tall blonde blue eyed boy to be buried into one of the walls during the construction and his presence will ensure that the construction job will be completed smoothly. And sure enough in those closing moments there he is gladly being smeared in cement and eggs, giggling as he's buried alive, with only his mother to grieve.

    It actually a fairly simple story. But the director, Sergo Paradjanov, working in Soviet Georgia in 1984, not too long after leaving a fifteen year jail term, doesn't follow any of the film making rules we are used to. There are very few close ups. Very often the action we need to be following is hidden in the bottom left hand corner of a landscape shot, extra-ordinarily easy to miss. There are very few close ups and at times its hard to tell whose doing what to whom and why. Every now and then the film goes off on digressions which have no relevance to the main plot and generally serve to confuse the viewer. The music is utterly mad, with found sounds, onscreen instruments and church organ dropped in seemingly at random. At times when nothing seems to be happening, someone will break into a jig, almost playing time until the next scene comes along. But infuriatingly there is an obvious cinematic voice behind it all so you're compelled to try and understand the message whatever it is. One of those times when your eyes are glued to the screen simply because you can't believe what you're seeing.

    'It worked!'

    Life Look at this. It's 5:43pm and I'm blogging at home. For once (fingers crossed) something connected with the computer and BT has actually gone right!

    Altonaer-Theate production reviewed by Lars Oppermann

    Interesting approach to the soliloquies: "A more questinable choice was to have parts of Hamlet's monolouges replayed from a recording as to present them as a sort of 'inner dialouge'. Combined with the fact that the ghost of the dead King does not appear on stage but is rather spoken by Hamlet too, things might become a bit confusing. While the original play Marcellus and Horatio are wittness to the 'Imagination', it's all in Hamlet's head now. This fits quite well with the audience not bening in the clear about Hamlet's mental state at all times though it gives too much wight to the possibility of him being truely insane rather then pretending it."

    As expected

    Life My cynicism wasn't misplaced. The new BT-Yahoo! surtime anytime option began today. Updated my Dial-Up Networking icon and whatnot and .... it takes me to an area of their website to download an icon I can't use. Online via my old icon until I can get it sorted out. But true to form that's going to be switched off in a fortnight, so if there is suddenly a blank space were a new post is supposed to be, you'll know why...

    [Updated:] Looking over the email and the bt website and using some powers of supposition I think it's just that I haven't been moved over to the new service yet ...

    Links for 2005-01-23 []

    Links for 2005-01-23 []

  • How a Ukrainian band emerged from the chaos of the 'Orange Revolution'
    Excellent article examining the Ukrainian music scene; also offers an example of how John Peel's death was a global tragedy
  • Rodeo in Salem gets unexpected song rendition
    "If he had been out there a minute longer, I think somebody would have shot him," Coming soon to "Da Ali G Show."
  • Top 11 Best Written Uses of Product Placement
    Number Eleven: 'Adventures In Babysitting' (or 'A Night On The Town') An article all about working the product into the film so far it becomes part of the plot without seeming like advertising.
  • Ricky Gervais. 'Extras'. Introducing : Andy Millman.
    I'm just date stamping this so that I can see how long it takes before it reaches the mainstream media in the UK. They seem to think Gervais is a god so I'm sure its going to be picked up. We'll see.
  • The Mitchell & Kenyon Collection
    Mini-site for the BBC Two series @ the BFI. Once seen, never forgotten.
  • Waking Dream
    Richard Linklater talks about the lucid dreaming phenomina and his film 'Waking Life'. After reading this I find myself wondering how much of his work has been informed by the experience, even 'School of Rock'
  • For The Love Of The Rings. An interview with the cast and crew of Fellowship! The Musical.
    Says it all really.
  • Grow Up? Not So Fast
    Erm, that's me ...
  • Firefox Help: Tips
  • Isn't It Ironic
    Dissecting the song lyrics. I still buy into the idea that the irony of the song is that there is no irony.
  • fitness to practice
  • Google Search: " as * as a *"
    'As affectionate as a dog, as sanitary as a cat', and other comparisons
  • Group Photo on Porch
    This is excellent for some reason
  • Yankee Fog: Looking Where The Light Is Good
    Following on from my controversially mean spirited post about giving up on award ceremonies, here is an example of why you should give up on award ceremonies.
  • Architect unveils his vision for northern super city
    "An architect's vision of a futuristic 'super city' stretching from Leeds, Hull and Liverpool has been unveiled."
  • Faking it
    When is a sacred artifact, not an artifact
  • Only fittest to survive in Olympic team cull

    The Road To Beijing Scary times for my six to watch. A major rethink is happening regarding how the British Olymic team should be run and how many athletes should be competing. It's possible that of the 500 or so atheletes who went to Athens, only 320 will survive. As you would expect, it's about money, about funding athletes who aren't likely to be winning medals. Which sort flies in the face of what I was taught in school about winning and taking part. Abi gets a mention in the ensuing paragraphs:
    "Only five of the 58 athletes who had absorbed more than £10m of lottery funding produced personal bests: Kelly Sotherton (heptathlon), Ricky Soos (800m), Abi Oyepitan (200m), Christine Ohuruogu (400m) and Jade Johnson (long jump). Only one, Sotherton, claimed a medal, a bronze."
    No one else gets a mention, but I've got my fingers crossed, although performances in major championships are going to be mitigating factors but it feels like a Catch 22 situation. Competing and doing well ensures funding. But funding adds a cushion to anyone who wants to compete and do well. [about]