'I'd like to add something to that.'

Blogger have uploaded a new commenting system which finally allows non-users to include their name and site details, which will hopefully put an end to all the annoying anonymous posts that keep cropping up. I like to know who's reading. Feel free to use this post to try it out.

Links for 2005-02-11 [del.icio.us]

Links for 2005-02-11 [del.icio.us]

  • The Vogons of Hitchhiker's Guide
    Well I certainly wasn't expecting that. Actually I quite like it.
  • Ice Hotel
    Cool continental breakfast
  • I'd like to say that's not the ITV I know but ...
    something else found by Kottke
  • Wil Wheaton gets cast in something
    Which understates actually. Excellent piece of writing to boot.
  • Bloglines statement on the Ask Jeeves acquisition
    Actually seems more positive than I was expecting. Seems they will keep their autonomy within the collective
  • Sideways rocks the wine industry
    The Pinot effect.
  • 2004 World Poll @ Sense of Cinema
    One of those excelllent reviews which features lots of things you've never heard, much less been released in UK. Here is what we're missing.
  • 'Just sign...'

    Theatre I was very sorry to hear about the death of Arthur Miller. The Crucible is one of the favourite plays that I didn't actually study in A-Level English. Unlike some, it seems immune to being produced poorly because the words and message are so clear. Although I'd seen the late nineties film, the first time I saw it in its original setting was in a church hall by an amateur group during the Edinburgh festival and it was just the most amazing bit of theatre I've ever seen.

    The temorary seating was almost full, and the audience filled with forboding. The set looked like it had been borrowed from a school production of Jack And The Beanstalk. Just before the show, the director announced that one of the people was too to go on and so he would be playing the part -- by reading directly from the text. So there he was fishing his way through as though he'd never seen it before as all of the other actors tried to keep some performance going around him. One of the characters, an old man, was being played (unannouced) by some teenager in a t-shirt and jeans (I'm thinking lighting engineer).

    By the end of the first scene, one third of the audience had gone. By the end of scene two another third had also disappeared. But those of us who stayed got to a fanastic final scene in which the actor playing Proctor gave a stunning performance. In the final moments, you could hear a pin drop, and it ended in a standing ovation. In the middle of what could have been a shambles, the play and its power survived.

    Hamlet revisited

    "It is important that the task is done right, and to make sure the psychological journey of Hamlet is performed in a safe and trustworthy manner. There is no point in me making a 30-year old Hamlet: with my 24 years I can make the journey of an adolescent to a young man to a grown man," Gareth Taylor said.

    'Are you Stuart Burns?'

    Life You'll have to forgive me, but I'm still under the slight influence of two glasses of red wine after a trip to the private view of the FACT's new exhibition, Critic's Choice which consists of items selected by Mark Lawson, Tim Marlow, Patricia Bickers and Sarah Kent. It was an odd couple of hours. I haven't been to a private view since I worked at the Walker Art Gallery. I tend to like seeing the work as a first time visitor to the space, and I used to feel as though half seeing it between gulps of Merlot and cheesy biscuits tainted the experience. I was all ready to leave when I bumped into someone I studied World Music with a few years ago. Who was with a friend who turned out to be Ian Jackson, fellow blogger and founder of the Art in Liverpool weblog I write for sometimes and who contributes to HeardSaid. Which just goes to prove what a small world this is.

    All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

    A popular landmark in Liverpool City Centre is a statue illustrating a Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby. What isn't necessarily known is that it was actually designed by well known musical performer, Tommy Steele. In 1981 when he was appearing a show he got in touch with Liverpool Council with the idea of creating a tribute in sculpture to the fab four. His fee was just three pence, a reference to the show he's perhaps best known for, Half a Sixpence.


    Liverpool Cathedral
    Sefton Park Palm House
    Beckett Park Campus
    Hyde Park Picture House
    Henry Moore Institute
    Walker Art Gallery
    Vinyl Exchange
    Eiffel Tower
    Starbucks Bold Street
    FACT Centre

    Penny Drop

    Wierdly, Ethan Hawke's character in Before Sunset is called Jesse Wallace. Jessie Wallace, the actress, played Kat Slater in Eastenders.


    Apparently if you ever asked the author Henry James for directions, he would often go into the minutest detail of the route you were to take and would somehow get himself lost in his own description as it meandered this way and that way without reaching a satisfactory conclusion to what he was trying to say to the extent that the person listening would often forget were he was when he started speaking ...

    'You have evil in your eyes...'

    Life Tonight's film class dealt with the of importance in an actor's perforance within a film. Some more clips from Bresson pieces were shown, Pickpocket and Mouchette. My understanding was that its better if the performer understates or even loses altogether the pretence of trying to copy what happens in real life, or rather trying to present a certain preset expected set of emotions, in other words be artificial. Instead they should just be presenting the lines and actions within a space and letting everything else in the film, the photography, editing and music tell the story and evoke whatever emotion is needed.

    I can absolutely understand that point of view and I've seen it in action all over the place, either on purpose (Jean Reno in Leon) or inadvertantly (Keanu Reeves in everything). But it obviously wouldn't work in every situation. Although Buster Keaton was mentioned it doesn't seem like something that could work in overtly comic films unless the lack of emotion was the point. When Harry Met Sally would have lacked a certain ... urgency ... in places.

    Hamlet gets the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 treatment

    "Servo: We win! We get any movie we want!

    Crow: Mike, you're da bomb, man, what're you gonna pick?

    Mike: Oh let's see, something I like. Let's say, say the greatest drama of all time. Pearl, send me Hamlet. With Ronna, Zepherelli, Olivie it's your choice.

    Observer: Hamlet... German... Bratwurst.

    Pearl: Hehe, perfect. You win, you get Hamlet. Oh boy do you get Hamlet. A dark, dreary, dubbed version made in 1960 for German television. God am I good."

    Lost in translation

    "This is perhaps what happened in the latest production of Hamlet, by The Actors Studio last week. It was staged in Bahasa Malaysia, and set in a contemporary setting (.22 calibres rather than rapiers and sabres). The fact that it was staged in Bahasa Malaysia seemed to have overshadowed everything else. And that's a problem when some of the actors seem to focus more on the language rather than the story itself. The result was like a pilot flying blind in the middle of a snowstorm, with hardly any contact with the control tower."

    Branagh vs Zeffirelli

    "The Zef. version is well, yes, crap when you try to compare it to the above. Yeah, where was Horatio (and, for that matter Michael Maloney, mikken?)? Where was the ghost's armour? Where was at least half the text, and the right order of it, and the sense of it? What was with Hamlet shagging his mother? And does anyone think Hamlet of all people would actually rip up a book, especially in Zef.'s pre-printing era setting? I can't be much more specific - I'd have to go watch it again and ... no. It's just wrong, and wrong, and wrong."

    Links for 2005-02-07 [del.icio.us]

    Links for 2005-02-07 [del.icio.us]

  • "So this girl today... she was totally my type."
    So the finally voice over bit of the film 'Singles' is absolutely true to life ...
  • It's like 10,000 clarinets when all you need is a flute.
    Still ironic after all these years
  • Paint me a river
    "It is the filthy, seductive soul of London. No wonder the Thames has transfixed - and defeated - artists for centuries."
  • US actor Ossie Davis found dead
    I was just watching his performance in 'Divorcing Jack' the other night. He was certainly one of the best things in it. Real shame.
  • How metafeeds will lead the way to RSS nirvana. Maybe.
    I really need to start cutting down on the number of feeds I have in Bloglines.
  • Doctor Who song
    Short but funny
  • Ask Jeeves buys Bloglines
    I gave a really bad feeling about this for some reason.
  • My Digital Life
    Gadgets from dawn to dusk
  • Saturday Night Live references Doctor Who
    ... and featured Paris Hilton in a scarf and hat using wordsl like TARDIS and Dalek. Wierd.
  • Tame your media collection
    It's all to do with barcodes ...
  • Woman is surprised she's allowed to hang at Starbucks six hours a day
    Just excellent. Although I don't think it would work quite so well here
  • "Do I get a side order of fries with that?"

    Gmail Impressively, Google have now given me 50 (fifty) gmail invites. If you'd like one, a name and email address to the usual, well, address.

    "The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning."

    Life I attended a book group tonight at the local Waterstones. Slightly disappointingly there weren't any neorotic Americans, footballer's wives or James Lance looakalikes. What I did find were a group of people passionate about books and who'd obviously finished more 'classic' novels than I have and probably read less tie-in novels about soon to be ressurected tv timelords. The book under discussion was Ian Fleming's Casino Royale and although some quite liked the book the for the wrong reasons, generally people had very few things to say about it. I found it quite dense for an one hundred-seventy odd pages and I've only reached halfway -- something I managed to bluff past by talking about the films a lot. There is one particularly tortuous chapter in which Bond explains the rules of Baccarat to his latest female companion over dinner. Anyone else doing that would have seen their date disappear to the bathroom and out of the window.

    I have a theory about friendships which developed at roughly the time I met Fani all those years ago. I think that someone moves from being someone you met to friend depending on how long you spend with them socially and that pulling a time out of the air that's probably twenty-four hours. If you can stand to spend a calender day of your spare time with someone they're probably your friend. What was interesting tonight is that most of the people there didn't seem to be 'friends' yet. Many had obviously been going on a monthly basis for a few years, but with only an hour and a half every now and then, they didn't seem to have got to know each other on a personal level. So there was still a level of politeness of not wanting to step on any toes.

    Except. There was something between the lines. For example, the subject of whether the book was a classic was being explored. Everyone had different copies of the novel. The majority had the newest Penguin edition with a silver cover which proclaims it to be a classic. One of the more outspoken people in the group was saying how he didn't consider it to be a classic, and the woman sitting next to me mentioned what it said on her new edition, to which he replied in a condescening way: "Well it doesn't say on mine, love." I watched her face which moved from hearing what he said, deciphering it then said quietly but incredulously, "Love!?!" I was the only one who heard it but I found myself giggling. But the point is that if they'd been friends, the woman would definately have made a point of making her feelings known loudly and quickly, but because those two are still in the polite stage, she kept shtum lest ill will spread. But she'll remember...

    Where's Whit?

    After watching through his films again, I wondered what had happened to film director Whit Stillman. During the nineties he created three excellent comedies of manners - Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days Of Disco, but once that last was released in 1998 it almost seems as though he dropped off the planet, to be forever known as a cult director.

    It transpires that he moved to Paris with his family hoping to find inspiration on the boulevards, and over the past few years has been trying to get other projects off the ground, but each time poor luck has come into play. For example, he was developing an epic about Colonial America at much the same time the Roland Emmerich film The Patriot was in production. This information comes from a reproduced magazine article here, which also updates us on the extra-ordinary piece he now hopes to be his next step:
    "Stillman has been busy adapting Winchester Races, a project with British producer Stephen Evans that would combine two unfinished Jane Austen novels, The Watsons and Sanditon, into a single script. The script would merge two characters: Emma Watson, a young woman who returns to her family after a long absence during which she's been raised by her aunt, and Charlotte Hayward, an attractive country girl who is taken up by a family of comically optimistic real-estate speculators."
    There is a reproduction of The Watsons here, and here is Sandition. I really hope that Whit makes it this time. Another excellent article about the films can be found here.

    The Hamlet of Edmund Kean

    (Hazlitt): Kean's surprise when he first sees the Ghost, his eagerness and filial confidence in following it, the impressive pathos of his action and voice in addressing it, 'I'll call thee Hamlet, father, Royal Dane,' were admirable. Mr. Kean has introduced in this part a new reading, as it is called, which we think perfectly correct. In the scene where he breaks from his friends to obey the command of his father, he keeps his sword pointed behind him, to prevent them from following him, instead of holding it before him to protect him from the Ghost.

    The importance of arts in the prisons

    So Wilcox, a slender, intense woman in big glasses, and a colleague, Mary Ann McGivern, began making trips to Pacific, teaching acting and playwriting, respectively. "Manuel gave me no peace. He wanted more. After one performance he said, 'Well?' and I said, 'Shakespeare.' His eyes got big. I said 'Hamlet.' His eyes got bigger. And then he said 'Yes.'"

    Hamlet Video International

    How unrelated can a domain name usage be? "Established in 1986, Hamlet Video International Limited is dedicated to the design, manufacture and supply of innovative, high quality, cost effective monitoring equipment to the television broadcast industry worldwide, with concentration currently on both digital and analogue video and audio test and measurement."