A meditative 'Hamlet'

"This is most certainly a production worth seeing. In the intimate Black Box Theatre, you feel as if you are part of the story, as these very talented actors bring to life a challenging script. To make the production as true to Shakespeare's intent as possible, Borgers has even chosen the script from the Second Quarto, which is considered the most accurate publication of the original play."


Joke The font Comic Sans walks into a pub and tries to order a beer. The barman says "We don't serve your type in here..."

[Well I thought it was funny. Heard on BBC2's The Culture Show this week during an interview with Matthew Carter.]

Little red packages.

Film It's now exactly a year since I signed up to the dvd rental company ScreenSelect. If anyone is a film fan, it's certainly something I'd recommend. I've spoken to a few people who've like me given up their subscriptions to satellite and cable and are using a service like this -- it's just very convenient and you're able to see the things you'd like to see rather than what just happens to be on. In some cases I've simply stopped watching television on an episodic basis when I know a dvd release is imminent. It's amazing how much more enjoyable some things are in concentrated burst -- all of the subtle links between episodes become much more obvious without a week of forgetfulness. It's also opened the door to see a much wider range of cinema, with the ability to see everything available by a particular director -- I've finished Truffaut and I'm currently working on Tarkovsky and Bergman.

Largely so that I've got a copy somewhere as a record if I ever leave the service, here (in no particular order) is a list of everything I've rented from them in the past twelve months.
11/09/01 - September 11
24 - Season 3
400 Blows
8 Women
A Hard Day's Night
Martin Scorsese: A Personal Journey Into American Movies
Adventures Of Robin Robin Hood
Aguirre, Wrath Of God
Alias - Season 1
Alias - Season 2
Amelie - Bonus Disc
American Pie: The Wedding
Anastacia - Video Collection
Anatomy Of A Murder
Angel - Season Four
Arsenic and Old Lace
Balzac And The Chinese Seamstress
Bande A Part
Barry Lyndon
Belle Epoque
Bill Bailey... Part Troll
Blue Crush
Blue Gate Crossing
Boudu Saved From Drowning
Buena Vista Social Club
Buffalo 66
Buffalo Soldiers
Cabin Fever
Cambridge Spies
Can't Hardly Wait
Catch 22
Caught On A Train
Chain Reaction
Cinema 16... Short Films
City Of God
Code Unknown
Cookie's Fortune
Corrs, The - The Best Of... The Videos
Coupling - Series 1
Coupling - Series 2
Daemos Rising
Dangerous Minds
Dark Water
Das Cabinet... Dr Caligari
Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure
Dawn Of The Dead
Day Of The Locust
Days Of Heaven
Death To Smoochy
Dirty Pretty Things
Divorcing Jack
Doctor T. And The Women
Eloge De L'Amour
Fahrenheit 451
Feel Like Going Home
Five Easy Pieces
Five Obstructions
Freaky Friday
French Connection - Feature
Game Over: Kasparov And The Machine
Goldwyn - The Man... His Movies
Goodbye Lenin!
Great Expectations
Harvard Man
Have I Got News For You
He Loves... Me Not
Himalaya With Michael Palin
How Green Was My Valley
Human Nature
In Cold Blood
In The Soup
In This World
Inventing The Abbotts
Japanese Story
Jewel - Live At Humphrey's
Jules Et Jim
La Jetee / Sans Soleil
La Peau Douce
Last Life In The Universe
Last Party 2000
Le Mepris
Le Petit Soldat
Les Enfants Du Paradis
Magnum Force
Master And Commander
McCabe And Mrs Miller
Mean Girls
Midnight Cowboy
Mississippi Mermaid
Murder One: Seasob One
Norah Jones... New Orleans
One Night At McCool's
Partie De Campagne
Parting Glances
Perfect Crimes
Phone Booth
Pocket Money
Punch-Drunk Love
Red Lights
Rosemary's Baby
Shanghai Knights
Shattered Glass
Sheryl Crow... The Videos
Silent Shakespeare
Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter And Spring
The Anniversary Party
The Birth Of A Nation
The China Syndrome
The Claim
The Company
The Conversation
The Fog Of War
The Gingerbread Man
The Girl Next Door
The Governess
The Graduate
The Honeymooners
The Last Metro
The Long Way Around
The Man Who Loved Women
The Mexican
The Mod Squad
The Other Side Of The Bed
The Princess & the Warrior
The Professionals
The Ring
The Station Agent
The Stone Tape
The Story Of Adele H
The Sweet Smell Of Success
The Thin Red Line
The Third Man
The Wild Child
The Wizard Of Oz
The Work of... Spike Jonze
Three Colours Blue
Three Colours Red
Three Colours White
Trilogy - One / Two / Three
Two Weeks Notice
Un Coeur En Hiver
View From The Top
Way Down East
Welcome To Collinwood
Wild Strawberries
I'm on the £14.99/three discs at a time package and sometimes, depending on what other things are happening I can get through about 20 discs a month which is bit cheaper than the £3.50 I believe it is in Blockbuster now. The only improvement which could be made to the service would be to complement the user reviews with something from an official source, for example Time Out -- or even a link through to an aggregated service such as Google Film or Rotten Tomatoes. Although user opinions are sometimes useful, the only showing for the Ingmar Bergman film 'Crisis' says something like 'It would have been helpful if it said this was in Swedish with English Subtitles' well yes, but what were you expecting?

Links for 2005-03-02 [del.icio.us]

Links for 2005-03-02 [del.icio.us]

  • The FUD-based Encyclopedia
    Excellent debunking of the myths surrounding the Wikipedia.
  • Scott Moschella Breaking The Law
    Stealing silence from iTunes.
  • Belle de Jour: The case so far
    Excellent chronology of the Belle de Jour enigma, with a coherent suggested identity. Of course she might just be a call girl you know.
  • Waiting for Christopher
    Excellent new Doctor Who blog for people waiting for the new series. They're watching lots of the old series in prep.
  • Doctor Who and the Daleks CD extract
    Here is an oddity. The original novelisation was told in the first person of the companion Ian. Now William Russell who played the character as recorded an audiobook and here is an atmospheric extract.
  • Parminder Nagra @ Wikipedia
    Excellent biography of the actress
  • BBC Worldwide is shilling ITV programmes abroad
    List includes the bizarre drama 'Frances Tuesday' with Tamsin Outwaite.
  • Victory at a price

    When Admiral Lord Nelson was given his fatal wound on board The Victory during The Battle of Trafalgar his first instinct was to conceal the fact from his men. So he covered up the medals on his lapel which had been a sign of leadership in the weeks leading up to the fight so that from a distance he would seem like just another sailor. As he lay in the hold of the ship word was passed to his second in command. Again, to keep the low awareness in the fleet, instead of the usual signalling methods expected for orders, an able man was ordered to take a tiny boat and row through the thick of the battle. The deputy knew that something was wrong as soon as he saw the young man's face.

    To be Shakespeare Shakespeare or modernized Shakespeare: That is the question.

    Robert Croghan designed the bland, faux-marble set. A humongous wheel thingy hangs from the ceiling during the final scene. Swinging back and forth (unintentionally, methinks) on Friday night, it looked like it was about to crash to the stage and gore poor Hamlet. That would put a daring twist on the play, come to think of it, though it would mean it could run only a single night.

    'They want to overthrow the human race. And destroy you. D'you believe me?'

    Life It's funny to me now how when I started this weblog I was always a bit cagey about my likes. I always tried to portray myself as a rounded individual straining to include links to a wider range of different topics, some of which I might not have been so interested in. Over time I've realised that a personal blog is supposed to be an expression of the person, otherwise what would be the point. So yes, there is a lot about films on here and music and not so much of the books. And here we are in the month that my favourite tv show is back on television, so I can't help writing about it. Sorry to bore the people who wouldn't know a timelord from a tetrap, but if you think it's looking like someones plonked a police box on your desk were your monitor should be, imagine what the 26th March 3005 is going to be like. When the new series starts. With this in mind, here is my first post to the collaborative Doctor Who weblog, Waiting for Christopher.

    The Roof of the World

    TV In the kind of happy coincidence that only a Doctor Who fan could enjoy I'm currently listening to BBC Audio's release of the First Doctor adventure Marco Polo at the same time as catching up on Michael Palin's travelogue Himalaya. It's struck me, horrifyingly, that if this most famous of lost stories actually turned up in vision that I could only be disappointed, despite the apparently incredible set and costume design.

    Even on scratchy bootlegs, as the TARDIS travellers set foot into the wilderness and we hear Ian vocalise the first episode's title 'The Roof Of The World...' I've always shivered at the thought that they really were in the highest point on earth, as close to space as you can be without resorting to rocketry. This new spruced up version hasn't dampened the feeling, and in fact William Russell's superb narration has increased the feeling. Now that I've seen the incredible place on tv, with people dwarfed against the landscape, this adventure is rendered in my imagination in widescreen. Suddenly, for example, the mongols who previously might have seemed like they'd turned up from equity for their first job are given the face of the native peoples.

    Even more excitingly this how Doctor Who is going to be appearing for real on television at the end of the month, albeit in shorter bursts that the three hours Marco Polo takes to tell its story. Flicking through this month's DWM and seeing all of the photographs of the set, even more so than the 1996 TV movie this looks like the show we all thought it could be. I'm disappointed that there aren't to be any pure historicals as they always seem to demonstrate the full range of the premise (there are parts of history that haven't had an attempted alien invasion surely) but just to be able to look at a brick wall and not have to make allowances for it being made of plasterboard is going to be incredible.

    RSS Me

    Blog! I'm just in the process of sifting through my RSS feeds and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for anything really good that I'm missing. You can see what I'm reading at Bloglines here.

    'What Doctor?'

    Who The first review of the new series of Doctor Who has turned up in Q magazine:
    "Gone are the cardboard sets and naff-looking monsters of old, this time you see... [edited geographical location] ...landmarks come under thrilling alien attack, as convincing and exciting as anything shown before in a British TV series." Boyd ends by praising series writer and executive producer Russell T Davies for the "triumphant regeneration" of Doctor Who (the series rather than the person) and for "the slick, sharp dialogue". He ends by saying that "Doctor Who is no longer the domain solely of sci-fi spods, this is must-see TV for everyone."
    Excuse me if my typing is slow, I think my hands are shaking.

    Beijing in mind

    The Road To Beijing Beijing in mind as RYA Olympic Classes National Ranking Series gets underway
    28 February 2005
    : " The Laser Radial class attracted the biggest entry of 23 boats proving that the decision to include this as the female single-hander for the 2008 Olympics, replacing the Europe, was a popular one. After three races Penny Mountford topped the scoreboard, winning two out of the three races, to finish on even points with second placed 2004 Europe class Olympic representative Laura Baldwin. Lizzie Vickers put in a consistent performance to finish third in front of Alison Young who was the only other person to win a race." [about]

    Any given purple car adheres

    Spam I've just received the following. The first bit is fairly straightforward:

    Would you like at least $1500.00 to $3500.00 per day just for returning phone calls? I do!
    If you have a telephone and can return calls you are fully qualified for this program.

    Give Us A Call
    Even if that doesn't sound like a job. I'm returning phone calls? From whom? Now things take a turn for the unusual as the spammer decides to present some literature:
    "His round white white little glasses is thinking. Her daughters white bicycle calms-down while the odd shaped round odd shaped clock is thinking while our soft eraser prepare for fight. Any given purple car adheres. A stupid round smart paper is angry. Any given soft bicycle adheres. A given white eraser adheres and her hairy printer got an idea. Her daughters round-shaped omprella calculates. A given round soda adheres while the fancy shining ram sleeps the time that a given bluish paper smiles. Our children round tall t-shirt calms-down. His brothers purple bicycle stinks. Whose small computer smiles. His brothers fancy bicycle stares as soon as her daughters golden kitchen makes sound and our expensive little table calculates. His brothers white red clock falls.
    These Daliesque meanerings must mean something -- so why are they turning up in spam. Is there a human involved or is a computer throwing together clauses?

    'It's the being nominated...'

    Film And so for the first time in ten years I entirely missed The Oscars last night. We went Freeview late last year and since Sky paid over the odds to nab it back from the BBC the only alternative was to watch the usually clueless updates on News 24 and I really wanted to sleep instead. Based on reports it doesn't sound like I missed too much. As predicted lots of people who already have awards got some more and the real geniuses were treated with the same respect as the Maths kids which I hung out with at school. At least Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind and Sideways got something, even if it is for scripts. Of course that meant second best film of last year Before Sunset didn't win a croissant but I like to think that time and nostalgia will be its reward.

    What I would like to know is how the handing of awards to people in the audience went. To be honest it sounds like a cheat -- why should some of the technical staff who did the real work on a film like The Aviator not get their place in the spotlight? I know that generally actors are given more emphasis but to do something like that is pretty disrespectful. Plus, when everything goes back to the way it was next year with a new show producer, it means that the people this year missed out on something every other winner since the awards began will have enjoyed.

    There were a number of live blogs for the award knocking around, but this one from The Superficial probably captures the ceremony best (at least for someone who didn't see it):
    "8:06 - Okay, I?m back to the Hillary Swank thing. Seriously, why does she look so different every time I see her? It?s like when I watch the Super Friends on Cartoon Network, the one from the 70?s, when the animators were way too stoned to ever draw Wonder Woman the same way twice. She?d have black hair in one scene, blue in the next. D-cups, A-cups. Lasso on the right, lasso on the left, no lasso. You can see the lines of the invisible jet, you can?t see the lines of the invisible jet. One minute she?d have on Superman?s cape, the next she?d be some big black guy, but still in that same outfit. And with the same voice.

    I can?t remember why I thought this had anything to do with Hillary Swank.

    8:09 - But she is a really good actress.
    I think I'll start getting pissed off early that The Life Acquatic hasn't won anything ready for next year.

    Links for 2005-02-27 [del.icio.us]

    Links for 2005-02-27 [del.icio.us]

  • Berry gets worst actress Razzie
    Hallie shows up to pick up award for 'Catwoman'. I knew she had some irony in her.
  • Simply Audiobooks
    I've wondered about this. It's basically ScreenSelect, Love Film or Netflix for audiobooks. Looks promising.
  • Oscar Best Picture Nominees Turned TV Series: 2008-09
    "Look to the skies, America! Dashing billionaire playboy/reclusive germaphobe Howard Hughes (Breckin Meyer) is taking off again in his fabled Spruce Goose: Destination adventure!"
  • Digital Spy: 'Enterprise' fans plan rally at BBC
    ... even though it's being shown on Channel 4 in this country. Erm ...
  • Musician Collins suffers brain haemorrhage
    Get well soon Edwin.
  • Let them sing it for you
    The ulitmate mash up
  • Santiago Calatrava's Favorite Bridges
    The design of the transportation hub on the site old the two towers discusses.
  • fragments of the past.
    Caro's musical life
  • Goddard back in action

    The Road To Beijing Swimmer James Goddard is back in action during the 2005 British championships which take place in Manchester from March 16-20:
    "It's been hard mentally to get back into training," he said. "The Olympics takes so much out of you mentally and physically, which some people don't realise. I don't think I'll ever quite get over what happened in Athens, but I've got to start looking forward to Beijing (in 2008)."
    What do you think are the chances this will actually be televised? [about]

    To be or not to be, or why Hamlet is the most relevant play to modern times

    What should he do? Should he listen to his heart, his superstitous visions of his father? Are they fanciful delusions telling him only what he wants to hear? How much easier would it be to ignore them, to pretend that all is as it should be? Not only could he protect his life and limb, but also the comfortable lie he has lived for a lifetime. For that matter, could it not be the truth?

    Out of out takes

    The reason that the film company MGM very rarely features deleted scenes on the dvds of their older films, particularly those by Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese is because in the early 1990s they junked reels and reels of unused film to make a saving on storage costs, which included out takes from the classics by those directors. In the end they saved themselves twenty thousand dollars.