I can't see without ...

Comics Joey deVilla goes to town on the thorny question of how people never see through Clark Kent's glasses, here then here.

When we were ...

Film It had to happen eventually. What amounts to the dvd extras for Peter Jackson's King Kong are being released at the same time as the film is appearing in cinemas. Will it work, or will people hold out for the inevitable boxset?

Yes, still waiting

Review 2005 Three people so far have been good enough to take up the challenge which is excellent but still leaves at least twenty-six days to fill. So still plent of room. Full information is here. It's going to be great.

Still waiting

Elsewhere Just learnt that this gets a thousand hits per day. Good lord. I mean who has been reading?

Still coughing after all these days

Travel I bought The Times along with my Guardian this morning. Yes, developed a conscience for bumping up the compact's circulation, but there was a free dvd of The Last Emperor and I'm weak. It did also have the attraction of a new travelogue from Michael Palin, who in a wierd kind of freebee inspired co-incidence has been back in China with a photography friend. It's an excellent piece of writing, especially if you pretend that Palin is reading it in your ear in that lightly authoratitive style he uses in his television voiceovers. For various reasons the second and third paragraph resonated:
"Only a week before leaving to meet up with him in Hong Kong I contract a fierce, persistent, phlegmatic cough. To the Greeks, phlegm was one of the four humours, bodily fluids which defined a certain physical and mental condition; it represented inertia and indifference. This was not the right frame of mind for the journey ahead, so before boarding my flight to Hong Kong I arm myself with an arsenal of linctuses, antibiotics, inhalants, soothing oils and a bottle of Ivy and Thyme Complex (highly recommended by a neighbour from Sri Lanka) which I hope will deliver a knockout punch to whatever is lurking within."
I haven't tried any of those, although I took some asprin earlier and I'm somehow currently drinking a pretty poor cup of tea from my Guardian mug which is probably some kind of karmic retribution for propping up the Murdoch fortune. But really this has gone on far too long! In between sentences then I was making a noise not unlike a hippo choking on a mud pie...


Life And the cough [cough] continues. I think it may be gaining in volume. Instead the odd person looking in my direction when I [cough], whole rooms do turn their heads. But I've tried mind over matter (perhaps if I pretend I don't have to [cough] I won't) and tablets (which end up making my throat cool [cough] and make we want to cough even more) so I'm going to try the old fashioned method of hope (that it goes away). I'm not sure I'm going to be too lucid [cough] in the two seminars the two seminars I have this afternoon.

Won't somebody come take me home?

Life Truth is I've actually been quite poorly these past few weeks. I didn't want to write about this on here, because it sounds like I'm fishing for sympathy, and I'm really not. It's a seasonal thing, I'm sure, and I'm not at all worried that the main symptom -- a cough that won't go away -- has been written about by many of the other bloggers who's work I follow -- throughout the world. I'm certain it's not some killer bug or anything. But when I get ill I tend to either want to disappear or my other pre-occupation is thinking and that's something which is not always the best way to get better, especially since it leans towards the negative and/or philosophical. Best not to be within blogging distance of a computer when that happens. As you can see. Shortly off to see Akira Kurosawa's Ran as part of my course, which is Shakespeare's King Lear with samurai, which sounds like the most exciting thing in the world when you see it typed up on screen. For some reason I'm getting a Barenaked Ladies flashback.

Review 2005 already

Review 2005 Long term readers might remember the Review 2003 which is still probably one of the most exciting moments on the blog. Last year's didn't quite have the same potency. Again I've been looking at the festive period wondering how I can capture the days and weeks and months which ran before it.

To the point: this year I would like to invite guestbloggers, one for each day in December, to describe a moment when they suceeded in doing something they've always wanted to do this year. For example, I'd want to write about returning to university. But it could be as simple as being able to see a film, trying a type of food or going to a concert. It doesn't need to be a life changing event, but it really could be. It depends how open you would like to be. But what counts is how it made you feel.

If you would like to participate, you don't need to send the entry now (particularly since there are still a few months left), just an intent via email (feelinglistless@btopenworld.com), and then it would be good to have everything in by the end of November. You don't need to be a blogger yourself to take part too, but if you do have a website of some kind I'll be pleased to include a link backwards. Thank you.


Film "Bluntly put, to not get (Robert) Bresson is to not get the idea of motion pictures?it's to have missed that train the LumiƩre brothers filmed arriving at Lyon station 110 years ago. The late French filmmaker made 13 features over the course of his 40-year career; each is a drama of faith so uncompromising as to border on the absurd. Bresson's actors do not act, they simply are; his favorite effect is the close-up. His movies may be cerebral, but their effect is primarily emotional?or physiological. They naturally induce a state of heightened awareness. Some might call it "grace." -- J. Hoberman, Village Voice.

It's an interesting quote, and although I have certain issues with Bresson's work, I would generally agree with the assessment -- I 'get' Bresson. I just don't necessarily agree with him, like a joke you understand but don't laugh at. I do extend my admiration to him for having a vision and doing everything he can to get that vision out, even if it means not chasing the studio dollar by producing something abhorent to him now and then to make ends meet.

Not yet a woman

TV The original Alias? The Girl From UNCLE.


Tom Stoppard is rewriting Shakespeare into thirty minutes, y'know for kids. No mention of Hamlet but since he's covering twelve then I'd imagine he'll give it a go. It's certainly has to be better than this. It will be interesting to see if he can get away without narration.


RSS is automated web surfing. You know, I can't believe how simple that definition is but also how clear. Now I've something to say next time I'm feeling evangelical.

Bunch the pawn

Sport Chess Boxing. Four minutes followed by two minutes in the ring ... [via]


Books  I've been a bit distracted. Half way through Alien Bodies I discovered that my application to return to university had been accepted. About forty pages into Kursaal my course began and only today have I had the time to sit down and hammer through the final hundred pages. If I was feeling cruel, I'd say that if I'd really been enjoying the book, I would have made the time. I'm going to tread cautiously with the criticism and talk about the good bits.

It's fairly obvious from the cover who the big bad aliens are at play here. The deployment is quite interesting however, closer to the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Identity Crisis that Buffy: The Vampire Slayer's Oz. This is lupinism by disease rather than heritage with zombie and sentient breeds being created from the dead and living all over the places. Some of the descriptions of the change are perfectly creepy, especially in the minor characters.

The book has an interesting structure which mimics the old Hartnell story The Ark as The Doctor and Sam's first adventure on Kursaal ends midway through the book, then continues fifteen years later on the same planet. This offers the chance to see a theme park before and after construction and also how The Doctor's interaction with the past changes the proposed future. There is some mileage in the characters, fifteen years after their first meeting with the timelord trying to cope with his continued youth, but unlike Carolyne's distress about the passage of time in Vampire Science, it's largely played with humour 'He would have to have had two or three facelifts...' and so on.

If there is an issue it's that the support characters don't seem too memorable. The main bad person Kadijk is a bit threatening, but no Master -- closer to a Van Statten level of villiany. Cockaigne too is difficult to put a hand on, especially when it isn't clear who is was actually supposed to be (he kept changing his identity I think).

Oddly, the times when the book really works are when The Doctor and Sam are together chatting and waiting for the next bit of plot to come along. Towards the beginning of the book, after the TARDIS has landed, the couple spend what seems like pages looking for a way out of some cave they're lost in and the dialogue just hammers along. Similarly, after the change in time periods, when they're simply enjoying the theme park and there is a real sense of the two as a unit. Much of the rest of the time, The Doctor is stalking around with a flashlight like some Anglophile Fox Mulder knockoff and Sam is making some big speeches which are all well and good but don't sound right.

See I've tried not to be negative, but you know, it just didn't feel very good. I'm probably wrong but it just felt a bit average. I'm sure I just didn't spend enough time with the book to appreciate its nuances and I'm sorry for that.

Time to move on.

Knocking on...

Elsewhere For some reason I was reluctant to blog this, but what the hell - this is supposed to be a record of my life as well as anything else. So. A new book has been published, Back To The Vortex by J Shaun Lyon. It's subtitled, The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to Doctor Who 2005, and that's exactly what it is, recording in exhaustive detail every step from the moment the series was announced up to a couple of months ago. It isn't a 'making of' though -- this is a record of how the media and fans viewed the process -- more of a social document.

So you would assume that it might quote from a few websites with an interest in the series. Websites like Behind The Sofa Again. And that writers for that website might want to keep an eye out. Oh well, alright, here I am on page 159 ...
"Stuart Ian Burns described the tone as: '...just right. Some will no doubt knock on about the humour, especially in the scene when the Auton arms comes to life and attacks the Doctor without Rose noticing, or the wheelie bin burp, but I that's not much better or worse than John Pertwee's cleaning lady, or any number of Jelly Baby scenes. It's an important part of the series and in the Whedon age, vital other it would all look a bit ernest and silly."
That's from this post here, my review of the first episode, Rose. I mean there are literally hundreds of people quoted throughout the book from all kinds of publications. But there is something a bit thrilling about seeing something you've written picked up and quoted and not sounding too out of place and actually being in print. I'm listed in the acknowledgements too.

I've actually been wrestling with writing related issues this past week. I wasn't entirely happy with the first essay that was submitted to my course. It seemed a bit artificial, it didn't flow but before I could help it, I ran out of time. Looking at the above quote I realised exactly what the problem was. Being myself. When I wrote the essay I was attempting to produce something I thought fitted the expected academic writing style, rewriting odd bits to sound 'more intelligent'. What I should have done is produced a piece of work with the same form I've been using for the past five years (example) and let the tutors advise me on what needs changing. I love that this quote includes the phrase "knocking on" which turns up all the time in my writing -- now it shouldn't be in an essay but at least it sounds like something I would write.

Watch them all fall down...

Music West End Girls. Swedish Pet Shop Boys cover band. Video for their version of Domino Dancing. [via]