I'll never give up.

Meme In the absense of an iPod, I asked WinAmp to offer his help with this ...

1. What do you think of me, Random Music Player?
Dreamsome - Shelby Lynne
Well, hey thanks very much.

2. Will I have a happy life?
Coda - Buffy The Vampire Slayer Cast
Which ends with the question ... 'Where do we go from here?' Hmm...

3. What do my friends really think of me?
Proof - I am Kloot
That is accurate. This is scarey.

4. What does my S.O. think of me?
Love is here to stay - Harry Connick Jr
Which is interesting since I don't currently have a S.O.

5. Do people secretly lust after me?
Faithful - Go West
Mixed message.

6. How can I make myself happy?
Good Enough - Dodgy
Singing this song out loud really.

7. What should I do with my life?
Lucky Child - Mckinley with David Torn
'Get a job in Lincoln and send money home.'

8. Why must life be so full of pain?
Merry Christmas - Chuck Berry
You're mocking me, aren't you?

9. How can I maximize my pleasure during sex?
So Far Away - Roxette
So telephones may be involved?

10. Can you give me some advice?
Pale Blue Eyes - REM
My eyes are brown. Oh you mean hers? Yes I know. I think.

11. What do you think happiness is?
(Change Is) Never a waste of time - Alanis
Who though a pre-Pill Morissette could be this philosophical?

12. Do you have any advice to give over the next few hours/days?
Mohana - Tota La Momposina
Hire a translator? What?

13. Will I die happy?
Shoulda Been The One - Debbie Gibson
I always will be the one. Thanks Debbie. I needed that.

random acts of feelinglistless

Blog! Tom is asking for his readers to vote on a new logo. I've offered him a suggestion ...

Just for me

Life I think I've recovered from the other night just enough to notice the onset of the a cold. I was sneezing so hard before, little glistening multicoloured speckles appeared on my monitor. Reader Sarah wants more details and I know others viceriously reliving their student years through the blog are desperate, and there will be more fun ahead, but really I want to keep the other night to myself at least for the time being. Think of it as Wil Wheaton's deer in that scene from Rob Reiner's Stand By Me; it was just for him so he didn't tell the whole world (at least until he'd grown up to be Richard Dreyfuss narrating the film). Although I will mention that I was singing Ben E King's title track to that film at some bar in the city at about 1:30 in the morning...

Not lovely

Spam This thing's getting hammered with comment spam. Any ideas?


Life I hope you'll forgive my absence but I stayed out in Manchester last night with friends and caught the 4:50am train back to Liverpool. I've had about three hours sleep. But really, had to be done. Just to see. Oddly enough though, I don't think it's the lack of sleep which has hit me, it was the forty-five minute walk to Picadilly Station from the halls of residents at the far end of Oxford Road we retired to. Good times.

Still here, still writing

Life I've just spent the past two and three quarter hours in the university library writing an essay. At first this surprised me, especially as I didn't look up and certainly wasn't concious of the time. But then I remembered that I've been writing online for over five years and often for stretched much longer than that. I think I'm more impressed that I've been able to create something which is in a voice other then my own. It's obviously written in an academic style, featuring much longer words and a reasoned argument which is certainly something having haven't been doing for years.

The second module/course/lecture series/someone please give me a name for them is the fairly well described in the title, Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary French Cinema. The viewing list includes everything from Luc Besson's Nikita through Baise-Moi, Amelie and The Hairdresser's Husband. It really helps that again there a lots of films I love to be considered, although the readings seem as heavy as you'd expect -- I'll dive into some of those tomorrow ...

A first

Life This is my first 'on campus' post. I'm in one of spacious computer clusters using a zippy machine and waiting for my first seminar. At 4pm. This is the first day when I've generally been left to my own devices, so I sorted out my increasing busy looking diary and did my first bit of course reading. I think, for now, my life is going to be filled with such firsts.

On here in there

Magazines I have of late been flicking through back issues of Doctor Who magazine. The best editions are those just on the cusp of the announcement of the new series, reading the editorial pieces trying to work out who knew what when. But every now and then something crops, some unusual premonitions of the future of the series.

In issue 310 (dated 14 Nov 2001) an article called 'Swap Shop' by Michael Haslett pondered what might have happened if some of the classic stories had appeared out of their own era. So 'The Mind Robber' with Peter Davison or 'The Underwater Menace' with Tom Baker. Right at the end, the writer ponders if a new series was to be made whether it would be an idea to remake stories from the past. Then thinks better of it pleading that we don't "pestering the BBC to remake An Unearthly Child with Billie Piper..." Who would have thought that something said in sarcasm would actually end up being half true?

Earlier, issue 279 (30 June 1999) is a treasure trove of material. In 'We're Gonna Be Bigger Than Star Wars' a panel of writers are asked their opinion of what a new series should be like. Who do they ask? Well Lance Parkin of course, and who else but Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies? Rob Shearman's missing but he hadn't yet hit the 'scene' so Gareth Roberts is keeping his seat warm - y'know the man who'd end up writing some Ninth Doctor strips for that same magazine and a few novels. Russell thinks Michael 'Crime Traveller' French would be good in the lead role and that it the series wouldn't ever go out on Saturday night again. He's given the last word though: "God help anyone in charge of bringing it back - what a responsibility!" Hmm. Yes.

But there's been an extra thrill to this trawl through the archives of the club newsletter. Now and then seeing the name of someone from 'on here' in there. In the letters page for issue 294 (23 August 2000) we find one Paul Hayes praising the work of exiting editor Gary Gillatt: "I started buying the magazine in issue 220, just three issues before Gary took over, so he has been almost entirely responsible for the DWM that I have come to know and love." Someone called Sean Alexander keeps popping up as well, particularly for reader surveys.

So team, two questions. Has anyone else spotted some other peculiar foresight in an old issue of Doctor Who Magazine and have you too been immortalized in its pages? Extra points if it was a weekly at the time ...

I'm there...

Film Trailer for Woody Allen's latest new film Match Point with Scarlet Johansson.


Quote "Question: Why does paper beat rock? I understand that scissors beat paper because it can cut it, and I understand that rock beats scissors because scissors can't cut through a rock or the rock just bangs the hell out of the scissors, but how exactly does paper beat rock by simply covering it?" -- Alex Mauldin

I'm finding it hard to believe ...

Life I accidentally over smiled at someone this morning. I was in the postgraduate common room jotting down some information about a seminar and this girl walked in. She smiled, probably surprised to find someone in there at the time of day. I smiled back. And smiled. I put my diary away in my bag and I was still smiling. She was beaming too, but in that way which people feel the need to when they're unsure what else to do. When I saw the glint in her eyes I realised that my grin was becoming a bit creepy. But I couldn't stop it? So what happened? I carried on. Right out of the door.

First course lecture today. Falstaff and Gandalf Go To The Movies which considers the adaptation of fantastical texts to the screen. It was one of the most entertaining hours I've spent in a college, utterly engaging from beginning to end, the story of the lecturer's passion for his subject from a young age. It began with a montage of some of the film and television series we'll be watching at the course screenings over the coming weeks. I was quietly emotional.

It was another moment when it dawned on me what I was given the opportunity to do. I remember at school when someone asked what I'd like to do at university, and I'd told them that I wanted to study film. It was a pipedream; I was effectively told to give over and go and study librarianship instead. And yet here I was seeing Tom Baker crouching behind a chair in a scene from Doctor Who -- and it's part of my education. It's the last thing I could have imagined at new year when I promised myself I was going to change my life and do something with myself. I think I may be in heaven.


Site News Incidentally, while I'm in a blogging mood (must be the sugar in the cup of cocoa I've just consumed), I've noticed that this site received nearly a thousand hits this week. Although this includes the usual googlers looking for Norwegian Girls and Natasha Kaplinsky naked, oh and clickthroughs via thay Blogger bar at the top, there are enough to suggest that a few more people are reading than six months ago. It would be good to know who you are if you haven't already commented lately and even if you're not a blogger yourself ...

This is me in twelve months. Fun!

Commerce "My credit is so bad, you'd be insane to give me a card." -- Elizabeth Coy declares war on junk mailers, here and here. Her 'about me' section is also excellent, being largely a discussion of what those pages are like.

Ha hah ha -- yesss!

Quote "me: Do you take traveller's cheques?
checkout girl: Yes, we do.
me: Oh good. Here.
checkout girl: [scrutinising cheque] Oh...you've put the 9th of November. It's the 11th of September.
me: Erm...I know. That's just the British date format.
checkout girl: [blank stare] That's the British date..?
me: Date format. That's how it is in Britain.
checkout girl: [amazement] Wow...so it's November over there?
me: No...it's just writt-
checkout girl: I would never have guessed that. That's so weird.
me: Yeah - yeah, it is." -- whomever writes slow/afternoon


Quote ""Dirty Love" wasn't written and directed, it was committed. Here is a film so pitiful, it doesn't rise to the level of badness. It is hopelessly incompetent. It stars and was scripted by Jenny McCarthy, the cheerfully sexy model who, judging by this film, is fearless, plucky and completely lacking in common sense or any instinct for self-preservation." -- Roger Ebert (Really not getting of posting angry film reviews. It's about time critics really went on the offensive.)

Slither, slither

TV I haven't had the time to do this so I've been able to watch the horror from the outside. See if you can spot the moment when my fellow posters to Behind The Sofa become totally disenchanted with the supposed classic Doctor Who story, Dalek Invasion of Earth. Darth Marsden sums up the mood:
"- The Dalek spaceship looks like two plates stuck together.
- The numberous bombs all look absolutely ridiculous, with Team Earth's looking suspiciously similar to ones used in Loony Toons cartoons.
- Carole Ann Ford shattered my glasses with her numberous shreaks.
- That's clearly a little toy model of Ian falling down the mine shaft. The Slyther manages to change appearance between episodes 4 and 5 (go on, watch it again and see).
- Their plan to replace the Earth's core with a giant motor is so ridiculous as to defy logic entirely (Earth's hardly unique in having a magnatic core, folks).
- And, to top it off, I was bored throughout most of it."
Lord, they're doing the Peter Cushing movies next week, which means the same story again on Thursday on the big screen in colour! I'd entirely forgotten that Bill Hartnell doesn't even appear in one of the episodes. In those days when one of the cast went on holiday, they'd just write them out that week by having them fall into a coma, hit by a ray blast or their part being shot on film the week before. The new series equivalent was apparently The Long Game (or the one with Simon Pegg) in which Chris and Billie only turn up in three sets and are only in about fifteen minutes of the episode. Drama, people.

Miranda gives away the ending ....

Quote "I recently went to the Globe to see Troilus and Cressida. It runs until Wednesday, but honestly, don't bother. It's not because the actors perform it using original Shakespearean accents (though that is weird: as though they're trying to sound Northern Irish but got lost somewhere round Lincoln), it's because, once you've penetrated their brogue, you realise that Troilus and Cressida, as a play, is rubbish. Speeches lead nowhere and you care nothing for anyone. By the time Hector is slain, you're almost weeping from the tedium." -- Miranda Sawyer

Or fjords...

Life I'd sort of forgotten about this. About a year and a half ago I wrote this guest blog post for Suw, and now I realise that some of the events happened nearly ten years ago and that it's actually the story of my twenties. Somewhere in there I say "I'm pining for University". Not anymore. I wonder what happened to Anita and Maggie?
TV One of the problems with great tv shows ending up on Sky is that the freeviewers amongst have to wait for the dvd to catch up. I've only just seen series three of JJ Abrams' Alias, and I can absolutely see why the series lost some fans. Clearly by the end of the second series, the drama had reached a pinnacle. After heartstoppingly dumping its originally premise mid-way then building twist upon twist through to a climax which brought together all of the threads which had built during the previous two years, and a mindbending cliffhanger, it was difficult to see were else the show could go, how it could build.

The first initial conundrum of series three was promising - where had Sydney Bristow been for two years? This seemed enough to sustain a good few episodes, perhaps the whole season, as tiny details would be built up until a final shocking revelation. Other interesting ideas including how the rest of the characters had changed over time - with Dixon in charge and Vaughn outside the CIA and married, the world of the show was turned on its head. Then slowly, almost as though the producers either didn't trust their own initial instincts or were getting stupefying pressure from the tv network to conform, the series unravels.

Sydney's mystery is answered in a whole episode mid-season. It's a throwaway, as though the show's created its own spoiler reel. Vaughn as a civilian teacher offered the prospect that would be seeing his old life in much the same way Will might in previous seasons - wanting to help but his hands tied. But suddenly he's brought back, making that initial revelation of his civilian hood pointless. Rather than making his new wife Lauren a nice person and so a much greater threat emotionally, she rather tediously turns out to be a double agent (kick ass certainly but a cliché).

Damagingly, with the excising of a home life for Sydney (or any of the cast) and any kind of 'civilian' character, the action and story become a closed shop. We're no longer seeing what our heroes are fighting for. Their fictional lives have become a treadmill with the audience frequently not given a breather from what is increasingly a convoluted, confusing story, burning through more plot than some series might have for it's entire run. It's a formula, but in places it's exhausting and importantly lacks jeopardy. The whole series seems have become a giant retcon, forever turning what we thought we knew on its head. Which would be fine if the writer didn't seem to be making it up as they go along.

The most successful episodes are mostly stand alone. Abrams himself sites the Ricky Gervais episode as his favourite, and it's mine too, probably because it's funny and cool in a way which the rest of the season isn't. Gervais' character has a strong back story (see also John Hannah in year one) and and for once the rest of the rest of the cast feels dimensional, not puppets to the plotline.

But still the series is watchable and that's because the actors are still breathing life into every scene. Jennifer Garner absolutely deserves her Emmy for continuing to make Sydney a loveable character even when all she's called upon to do is discover some more exposition and kick some bad people. But everyone else is grand, especially Greg Grunberg who's not given nearly enough work to do considering that his character Weiss is certainly the funniest character (Marshall's too cartoony for my taste). Also Victor Garber continues to make Jack Bristow the coolest man on television. No really.

I hear that in season four there is a move towards a standalone episode approach and a reintroduction of a semblance of a home life for Sydney. I hope so. Some of my favourite scenes in the opening two seasons hardly featured spies at all and were about the moments in between. It would be good to see more of those.

A post in which I make a sudden, powerful, yet obvious discovery.

Life I've suddenly become very conscious of my blog. For some reason it dawned on me this weekend that anyone I meet who cares to google my name can suddenly read about almost everything which has happened to me since mid-2001. I know that was always the point, but it must seem like the height of exhibitionism. I mean I haven't been too personal on here, and hardly written about work, but I'm endlessly going to be at the disadvantage that some will know heaps more about me than I know about them. Is this why bloggers tend to roam in packs? Part of me is second guessing what I've written -- what did this thing I said in 2004 about that say about me? What impression does my 'about me' post make? So there are two options. Take all of this down and walk away, or leave it where it is and come to the conclusion that actually it's a four year advertisement for who I am and that should be proud that I'm still here. Looks like I'm staying then.

Tri is the magic number

The Road To Beijing Congratulations to Michelle Dillon, who romped home to win the ITU World Duathlon Championships in Newcastle, Australia:
"The Elite Women?s race was fought hard with fantastic results with a 1,2,3 for Great Britain. Michelle Dillon (2:11.06) claimed the crown of World Female Duathlon Champion. Post race she said ?I had to dig deep to hammer that final 5km run, but the great crowd support got me to the finish line?.
Looking for that Wikipedia definition linked about, I discovered this reference to a Quadrathlon which also features a spot of kayaking or sometimes rollerskating. Surreal. [about]

It's perfectly fine.

Film If you have a minute, or half an hour actually, listen to Mark Kermode reviewing Guy Richie's Revolver. Apart from being hilarious, it's interesting to hear the build up, as Kermode and presenter Simon take the piss out of Richie somewhat bizarre publicity interviews, and listener anticipation grows, in the form of emails to the programme. It's hard to think of another critic who actually has fans, but here is and here they are.