We are very pleased to keep our deposit

Politics Wierdly missed this. It's the blog of Peter Cranie who was the Green candidate of my own constituancy of Riverside. Having been a Poll Clerk again on Thursday (loooong day) it's odd to see actual words from someone whose name I saw on ballot papers all day.

Still the real alternative.

Politics So now I know for a fact that 39% of the UK public don't read this weblog and that my rambling yet pursuasive argument for voting from the other day didn't work. Annoyingly if those 39% had turned up and voted Lib Dem we would have seen a slightly shellshocked Charlie Kennedy standing in front of Number Ten. Statistics suggest that they did well and gained seats with a predominantly young, studenty vote. Over in the run up to the next election towards the end of the decade, their priority is to develop an image as the part of the young with policies geared towards that. But also, in the consistuencies which have been won after an anti-war vote, the MPs need to convince their electorate, through good visible work within in the community that they've inadvertantly made the right choice, so that the sixty-two seats we won aren't just a blip but a stepping stone to becoming the unconditional political alternative next time. We also managed to come second in 160 consistuencies which is also worth celebrating. No longer will we hear the words 'Liberal', 'Democrat', 'minor' or 'party' altogether in the same sentence. Unless it's that one.

Can't think of anything for a title because this is too bizarre...

Wars The script for the new Star Wars film might be half literate. Tom Stoppard did some uncredited work on it. Bizarre. And six years too late. [via]

Melinda times two

Film When I reviewed Woody Allen's last film, Anything Else, it was on the defensive. That film had taken a lot of criticism for being identikit Woody Allen, marginalised from reality. I loved that film for both those reasons. I love Melinda and Melinda in the same way, and ironically it seems to be playing those criticisms as strengths.

Which is why it's odd that it's being presented as a return to form, particularly because most of the elements are so similar to his other films. Even the music over the titles has been heard a few times before in earlier films. It has the discussion/storytelling format of Broadway Danny Rose and the mixture of comedy and tragedy of something like Crimes and Misdemeanors. It's still set in affluant Manhatten in which people own houses in the Hamptons and will order out for Chinese food if an already expensive meal is ruined.

I think what makes it a more watchable and probably accessible film is that it feels like a richer experience. The central conceit, of a story being told from a tragic or comic perspective from an initial stimulus is a discussion of the essence of drama. That discussion occurs throughout the film as the two stories echo each other, moments being mentioned or redescribed in differing configurations, with suicide played in the darkness and light in equal measure. It gives the piece a background bigger than the characters and their situations.

But there is also a depth and breadth in the cast. As both Melindas Radha Mitchell gives a towering performance. Unlike Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors (a spiritually similar film) who was called upon to play essentially the same character twice, here Mitchell has to think herself into two spaces completely. Each Melinda, because of their place in the comedy and tragedy sections, has a different life experience and so reactions are going to be wildly different. The tragic Melinda feels to an extent like Judy Davis in Husbands and Wives; comic Melinda is more loveable though, a bit Meg Ryan. Compellingly you fall for both in different ways.

But this is an ensemble piece though, and what's very interesting is that the whole cast isn't replicated through both stories, Mitchell is the only common thread. This means Allen's also played to the strengths of casting for comedy and tragedy. I've never previously loved Will Ferrell, but here, possibly because he's effective Woody avator he's actually very effective and heartbreaking. Amanda Peet, who I've always known is a wickedly great actress repeats the excellent work she's done in things like Two Ninas. On the tragic side, if Johnny Lee Miller is a bitter mannered with his best attempt at an American accent, Chloƫ Sevigny continues her consistent work and Chiwetel Ejiofor shows once more that he's going to be a very big star.

You what I think makes this seem like a better film? Woody's started editing again. Lately, the director has been relying on oners with steadycam and handheld, with the characters playing within a space. That has the effect of making things seem very theatrical, and also reduces the facility for subtlety. Here, there are many more close ups and frequently the frame will hang on a face giving the actor room to tell a story. There is also a lot less conspicuous improvisation. In only a couple of scenes can we tell that people are throwing ideas in and hoping they stick. Everything feels planned giving this film a rhythm which has been lacking. There are rumours that this could be Allen's last New York film for a while, so it's lovely that Melinda and Melinda looks so amazing, with the photography of Vilmos Zsigmond (who also impressed on Kevin Smith's Jersey Girl) finding yet more new ways of evoking the city.

Woody's next film, Match Point has been made in London, with his next being set there as well. That should give him a shot in the arm creatively. But frankly on the basis of this I don't think he needs it.

Toastal vote


Toastal vote
Originally uploaded by knautia.

Just one of the great general election photos from this set at flickr.

Vote(?) 2005

Politics An slightly rambling irrational open letter to anyone who won't be voting on the 5th May 2005:

Dear Disaffected Voter,

There was a survey today with said that only one in three young people will be making the effort to vote on Thursday. The turnout is generally going to be about 60%. My own consistuency, Riverside, had the lowest turnout in the whole country. There are many millions of people in the land who just don't see the point in voting.

There'll be some of you who won't be voting because for some reason you simply can't. You recently moved house and didn't have enough to time to get your vote moved to your new house. You'll be on holiday and the whole postal voting thing couldn't be scheduled properly with while you're away. Those and a whole raft of perfectly good reasons. I'm not talking to you.

I'm talking to the rest. You'll be split into two camps. Those who can't be bothered and those who don't see the point. Yes, you. You idiot.

If you're insulted by that, you should be.

The biggest idiots are the ones who can't be bothered. The ones who have the facility to vote, aren't impeded, but simply can't be arsed walking all the way to the polling station, even though there are enough of them that the local will be in the next street. Do you realise you're screwing things up for the rest of us? Here is a list of the knock on effects of you not showing up.

(1) It makes us all look bad. There are certain parts of the world were people don't have the choice of more than one party, for that matter the ability to vote at all. Not naming any names. In some of the these places people have been killed whilst they've fought to get the chance to choose who they want as a leader. By noting voting yourself, you're pissing on their fight because you're devaluing what they're fighting for. You're like Cameron's dad in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Lovely car parked up in the garage being wasted. Take it out for a spin once in a while.

(2) It's not a fair contest. I was watching the Olympics last year, and in one of the races a rank outsider won a gold medal. But he was seriously pissed off -- because the great runners in the sport hadn't been there to contest their title so it was sort of a default win. By not showing your support for a party, whoever wins won't necessarily have won because the country wants them to be there. It'll be because the majority of 60% of the country wants them there. Which isn't the same thing.

(3) It makes you look bad. If you can't be bothered spending twenty minutes of the day going into a room in a school somewhere to put a cross on a slip of paper, a process which has been made as easy as possible now (now that they even print the name of the party on the ballot paper) what frankly are you good for?

Now there are the rest of you who are making a point of not voting. My Father believes that everyone should be forced to vote by law, even if they show up and spoil their ballot paper. Within the current system it's your choice and right not to vote. So there will be a percentage of people who don't vote because they believe it's sending a message that you're unhappy with the political process in this country. There are a couple of flaws to this plan:

(1) Politicians don't give a shit about you. Because you didn't turn up at a polling station, come the day they don't even know you exist. If you don't like the political process the only way to develop it is to engage with politicians and ask for that change. Some of the parties have ideas for reform using systems such a proportional representation which means that every vote is counted.

(2) Your plan only works if no one votes. Like that's going to happen. No matter what you do, someone will be Prime Minister on Friday.

There are some, such as the 66% of students I mentioned earlier, who aren't voting because they say that the manifestos and party policies aren't offering anything to them. What doesn't occur to you is that manifestos are written to interest the various demographics of voters. So if you don't turn up, you're not a voter so why should they try and attract you with tailored policies? So effectively if enough of you people turned up and voted, it'd frighten the shit out of the politicians and they'd have to start listen and developing useful policies so that they can keep you on their side. There were no policies effecting women in manifestos until women got the vote. It's pretty much the same thing. You turn up, so will they.

I know this has been a bit freewheeling. If I'd wanted to I could have found a bunch of statistics and anecdotal evidence to back up some of these things. But I thought I'd go for the simple, direct, approach because don't think I've said anything which you don't already know.

I'm just trying to give you a nudge.

Even if you turn up and vote for a man dressed as a banana you'll at least have the satifaction of knowing when the announcements are made, someone who just wanted to have a bit of fun hasn't lost their deposit.

Just don't waste you vote. Pick a party and go.

And if the one you pick doesn't win, there's always next time....


Oh no, not again

Film Sorry to bang on about this, but here is a review which perfectly captures the wrongness of the new HitchHiker's film:
"Most significantly, the film's ham-fisted efforts to make Dent a more rounded and likable character undercut the serious message beneath the original satire - the disheartening notion that humanity, despite all our pretensions, is in actuality desperately insignificant in the broader scheme of things. In the radio series, we are first presented as a minor species that superior aliens might thoughtlessly destroy, and later as mere cogs in another alien race's computer program. The film retains these elements, but by cherishing and validating Dent, it also contrives to reassert humanity's value and meaningfulness. This is especially evident in the film's closing sequences, in which a Slartibartfast who is much too dignified and insufficiently senile presents the reconstructed Earth not so much as a revived computer program, but more as a sort of tribute to Dent, with special attention paid to rebuilding his demolished country home. Subsequent images of beautiful plants, animals, and people coming to life visually characterize Earth and its myriad creatures as indeed something special - reinforcing the conceit that Adams was originally assailing."
The more I think about all this, the more bitter I become. I happened to rewatch the scenes and guide entries which were produced for Sanjeev Bhaskar's documentary for 'The Big Read' earlier and lamenting that in places they're more dramatically sound than what we got this weekend. In that we had Adam & Joe as the philosophers with Stephen Hawking's voice box playing Deep Thought. I'd take that over two kids and a bored sounding Helen Mirren any day... [via]

Is more than enough

Life As you would imagine, this article regarding being in a life ruts chimes with me:
"As human beings, we made it through the process of evolution because we're flexible and adaptable, so we are wired for change," says Shelley Weiss Cohen, a life coach in Northfield, Illinois, who works with people to make changes in their personal or professional lives. "When we're in a rut, it's another way of saying that we're not experiencing enough change or variety. A rut results when we get into a fixed way or pattern of doing things that, over time, becomes dull or tedious. We may ask ourselves, Why am I doing this? Do even I want to do this? Why isn't this working for me anymore?"
The trouble with this stuff is that it feels better said than done. Some of us haven't the resources to go travelling each weekend, for example. I really need to get my life sorted out. I suppose I'm just waiting for the eureka moment. [via]

The Road To Beijing

The Road To Beijing Michelle Dillon grabs fourth in the Mooloolaba ITU World Cup. [about]

This is were your towel is

H2G2 Ford Prefect's towel from the tv series on ebay.

He Knew We Were Shite

People Unexpected Laura Fraser interview to publicise Conviction, a new cop show coming to BBC One BBC Two, 9.25 in the evening from next Saturday:
The need to pay the mortgage has made Fraser something of a small-screen fixture, first in the Trollope adaptation He Knew He Was Right, then in BBC3's Conviction and Casanova. He Knew He Was Right (or, as Fraser has it, He Knew We Were Shite), was a far from great experience, exacerbated by an organ-constricting corset. "They wanted me to go so small with the waist that it gave me a kidney infection," she recalls.
I wasn't aware of some of that backstory, especially that she flat shared with Anna Friel. Kind of explains why she dropped under radar for a while. Good to see her getting lots of work lately though.

DEAR intrested reality tv watcher

Spam Is this the most ellaborate example of the Nigerian scam yet? Look -- they're riding the wave of the zeitgeist! I'm not changing any of the formating from the email, so bare with it ...
DEAR intrested reality tv watcher
i am dapo ojo the producer of house 4 nigerian reality tv show and inviting you specially to take part , bcos you fit in this fun expedition
?House 4? is a unique, real life relationship and talent hunt programme [TV & Internet] where six housemates, representing the various diversities in THE WORLD are camped in a convivial atmosphere. They try to exhibit their natural traits and outdo one another in the commune in an attempt to win the star prize(s). In the course of their stay in the commune, the housemates will all learn how to build healthy relationships that will foster unity amongst YOUTH in spite of our cultural and religious diversities.
?House 4? is all about intrigues, suspense, fun, mystery, adventure, emotion, celebration, self-confidence and ___expression with no religious, cultural or gender barriers.
i must say that you are a great fan of being a room mate which i want you to partake in it this 2005 ,Reality TV is YOUR favorite type of tv to watch! YOU love it! Mainly because theres nothing fake about it its just real ,so i am highly invited you to become a room mate in this 2005 house 4 event taking place in nigeria , this june , you can visit our website for more details www.house4.org , and find out more .so there are many people from different national backgrounds and nationality , so there are great chances tom meet more people and make good friends .it will be great fun to represent your country and feel amoung the youth of the worlds and make friends no matter your stautuS whether single or married, mum or father
. the price 4 the future to be come popular it is not a must but i wanna let u know the game ..
all ticket to and fro from your home all taken care of and transporatation feeding accomadation during the event will be taken care of If you decide to participate in our project
this is from my private email adress so reply me here
dapo ojo

Interesting that they don't ask for money or bank account details yet. I wonder how many emails down the line that'll happen? Should be noted that his personal email address is presented courtesy of Yahoo.