Meme I'll tag myself then ...

Four jobs I've had:

* HMV stock room boy
* RBS credit card centre advisor
* media advisor during Commonwealth Games
* voice over artist

Four movies I can watch over and over:

* When Harry Met Sally
* Lost In Translation
* Love and Other Catastrophies
* Before Sunrise

Four places I've liked

* Edinburgh
* Manchester
* Paris
* Birmingham

Four TV shows I love

* Doctor Who
* Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
* North Square
* The West Wing

Four places I've vacationed:

* Ludlow
* Whem
* Heysham
* Rhyl

Four Five of my favorite dishes:

* Steak and Chips
* Spag Bol
* Jambalaya
* Roast Lamb

Four sites I visit daily:

* Bloglines
* Behind The Sofa
* Flickr
* Metafilter

Four places I would rather be right now:

* New York
* London
* Paris
* Munich

Four bloggers minxes I am tagging:

* Caro
* Alistair
* Sasha
* Kat


TV "I've cried many times but the one that always, always gets me is when Donna is trying to have a national holiday named after her high school teacher. Bartlet doesn't do it, obviously, but he does call the teacher in question from the Oval. Donna is there and doesn't know what to say so Bartlett says just tell her where you are. Donna says 'Mrs. (whatever) I'm in the Oval Office with the President of the United States and it's because of you....' " -- Rob Fraser is amongst a raft of posters to The Guardian's Organ Grinder blog remembering their favourite West Wing.

I agree with all of the suggestions. I think the series is best when it's being goofy or ideological or both at the same time. The best episodes are when you've absolutely no idea what the story is because it's about some obscure bit of US politics but it works because the dialogue and characterisation and acting and direction make it so. The problem with the first half of season five is that John Wells found himself trying to work from Sorkin's legacy without really having a clue on what made the show tick. He tried to imprint an e.r. sensibility on the thing, ladling in the soap suds (Ian Jones wrote a really great critique of all this at the time for Off The Telly). Later, there seemed to be a new impetous. I noticed, amongst others, Alexa Junge's name pop up in the credits. She wrote some of the best episodes of Friends and her writing here seemed to recapture some of Sorkin's sprightliness. By the end of the season it felt more like the show I remember. Two seasons to go then (for me at least).


Film "Everything about the film -- its casting, its filming, its release -- is daring and innovative. Soderbergh, the poster boy of the Sundance generation (for sex, lies and videotape 17 years ago) has moved confidently ever since between commercial projects (Ocean's Eleven) and cutting-edge experiments like Bubble. The movie was cast with local people who were not actors. They participated in the creation of their dialogue. Their own homes were used as sets. The film was shot quickly in HD video." -- Roger Ebert.

I've been meaning to write about the groundbreaking distribution of this film. As Ebert rightly mentioned, it's being released to theatres, to dvd and pay-tv at the same time as a test of a future distribution model for all films. I was chatting to someone about this the other night and they wondered if the cinemas chains would be annoyed because people would generally stay away and prefer to buy or rent instead. I suggested that actually what will more than likely happen is that the exhibitors would have copies of the film on sale in the foyer so that determined cinema-gowers in that initial rush from seeing film might want to buy it as they're leaving. It's certainly true that there have been occasions when I've loved a film enough that I'd wished I could own a copy as soon as they're over then decided against it after some thought.

Something I never understood during the run of King Kong is why the Production Diary dvds weren't for sale in the cinemas showing the film. It seems like perfect distribution synergy to me. Taking this the Soderbergh run, why not have these new film release dvds exclusively available on sale in cinemas for the run of the film. That way Odeon or whoever could still profit even if people simply went there to buy the dvd rather than see it projected. They could also have a deal whereby the spectator could see the film and have a dvd copy thrown in at special joint rate. I would imagine the record stores and online shops would be slightly pissed with this idea since they'd no longer be able to claim exclusivity on sales after the fact. Unless the theatre copies are vanilla style screeners -- the sort which turn up in the weekend newspapers, so that people who want things like commentaries and chapter breaks will have to go to a shop once to the movie has left the big screen.


Liverpool Life "Yet I still carry with me fond, golden memories of fond, golden times and places which made me think Liverpool was the greatest city I could ever see: of a café behind Bold Street that used to serve the largest teapots filled with the nicest tea I'd ever tasted; a bakery by Liverpool Central station that, if you were lucky, would have the most gorgeous slices of caramel flapjack for 49p; a second hand bookshop on Lark Lane where I once found a heap of rare ITV and BBC handbooks hailing from the 1970s and 80s in pristine condition; and the wonderful 051 Cinema which had the nicest seats in the whole world but where, if you went on the wrong night (Fridays or Saturdays), your enjoyment of the film could be somewhat tempered by the thumping breakbeats emanating from the nightclub downstairs." -- Alistair Myles.

The 051 was about the only place in Liverpool were anyone could see anything art house related. The auditoriums were tiny and so were the screens. Sound was produced from a single woofer under each of the screens. But this was place I saw Empire Records and Heroes Return; Lelouche's Les Miserables when some random girl from across the Mersey sat with me because we were the only ones there; Brassed Off with my parents and wierdly Dean Sullivan was in the audience (Brookside's Jimmy Corkhill). When it closed, apart from the odd showing at the Odeon, no arthouse graced the city centre for years before FACT stepped in. Now I have The Cornerhouse in Manchester on the way to the station. I feel spoilt.

lots of kisses

TV Oh this is going to be fun. Tom Baker has been hired by BT to voice incoming text messages on landlines.

"It took British Telecom engineers five months to record and process his voice. The actor spent a total of 11 days recording 11,593 phrases covering every single sound in the English language. BT says there is no limit to the words Baker's voice can say - even rude ones are included."

He must have been demented - perhaps even more demented than in his famous outtake reel. I can relate. When I was working for the council, I volunteered to record the voiceover for their twenty-four hour payment line. Which meant having to say things like all the numbers from 1 to 100 in one go without sounding like I was counting. Somewhere out there is a robot version of me ready and willing to take your council tax payment. Or you could press two for parking fines ...


Liverpool Life The city has a new listings magazine. Just Liverpool has just launched. I think the key to these things is distribution and content. It needs to be available everywhere and be indispensible. This is going to be bi-monthly though. I wish them luck, but I hope that isn't so long between issues that people forget who they are. [via]


Film "So Halle Berry fell down the steps. On the set of Perfect Stranger. I know when other people fall down and get hurt it isn't funny but in my defense I fall every day. I fall so hard I break shoes. I am not shitting you. I had three big falls during Awake - HUGE, shit scattering everywhere falls. Not just stumbles, but flat on my face, full body forward crashes. Besides, Halle did not get hurt. And it was funny. It was all arms, all legs, a clumsy 4 step fall kinda funny." -- Kat. Seriously and deliriously this is becoming one of my favourite blogs. It's like a real life Extras or A Cock and Bull Story.


TV "It's a disgrace - Channel 4 hack me off." Professor Sue Black, a leading forensic anthropologist, is talking about Dust to Dust, a new Channel 4 programme which will show, for the first time on television, the gradual decomposition of a human corpse. Channel 4 have an unnamed volunteer - who is terminally ill - and once he or she has died, the cameras will roll. Prof Black was approached to take part in the programme but turned the producers down. "No serious academic or scientist would be associated with something like this," she says." -- Tiffany Jenkins writes for The First Post.

Green Screen


Green Screen
Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

Our Freeview box crashed yesterday leaving nothing for our viewing pleasure but this green screen. Good job there is a reset switch or I'm convinced this might have attempted some form of mind control.


TV "A viewer?s anxiety while watching Conviction doesn?t necessarily spring from a murderer on the loose, but from the decisions made by those tracking down the culprit. In that respect, it feels like a spiritual descendant of the popular Prime Suspect, but even more so the fantastic U.K. crime series Cracker, which starred Robbie Coltrane as a police psychologist whose all-consuming appetite for the weakness of criminals was matched only by a tornado-like disposition toward his own fractured personal life." -- US reviewer Robert Abele comes to terms with the suffocating UK crime drama Conviction which was one of our tv highlights last year.

Bloody Hard Work

TV Billie Piper has won the Breakthrough Award on The South Bank Show. Which is lovely and amazing and totally our doing I'm sure. Here too is The Times' odd spin on the story.


Life Uneventful day. Today I was so bored I posted a record of my dvd collection online for you to pick-over and criticise. Honestly, all of my world cinema and art house is tied up in VHS. And yes I know my user name lacks an 's' but I ran out of characters. I need to college to start again, stat.


Film Gwyneth Paltrow divides her films into two categories: those she does for love and those she does for money, or "shite" as she calls them, tentatively road-testing the British vernacular. Into the former category goes Sylvia, which, she says, "because it's a movie about a poet who killed herself, [didn't] have a big audience", and The Royal Tenenbaums. Into the latter goes Shallow Hal, the Farrelly brothers film, and "this terrible movie called View From the Top that Harvey Weinstein talked me into doing". -- Emma Brockes interview.

I could read interviews with Gwyneth all day. View From The Top is a terrible film. Uneven editing, unfunny setpieces with people like Mike Myers, horrible script. But wierdly the last eight minutes are really good. There is a montage sequence in which we see Paltow's air hostess character moving in and out of her apartment over a series of days and weeks all in one 360 spinning tracking shot and from nowhere the script becomes vaguely literate. It's odd. I'm not sure whether that's the actress talking about Shallow Hal or Brockes' spin. She's been pretty positive about that film since its release so I'm hoping its the latter. It's a sweet film.


dvd Another wierd boxset. What have Dogma and Heathers got in common?


TV "The atmosphere in the studio was postively icy, despite Tel's efforts to take a concillatory tone, expressing his misgivings about his own "they're laughing at you" comment from 1991. Alas, Icke isn't known for his magnanimity, and used this as an opportunity to berate the audience for its lack of maturity. Apparently we all should have been thinking "something really interesting is happening to this guy", rather than pouring scorn on the notion Saturday Superstore's sports desk anchor was some kind of modern day Messiah." -- Graham Kibble-White was lucky enough to be at the filming of the first episode of Wogan: Now and Then and found himself watching Round Two of a chat contest begun 15 (fifteen) years ago between Terry Wogan and David Icke.

Ladies and Gentleman, I introduce you to Off The Telly's new Blog.


Life Something I somehow neglected to mention. I was a shortlister for The Bloggies 2006 this year. And you know what? It was one of the most thoroughly disappointing experiences. I mean the initial rush of being one of the hundred and fifty initial voters was certainly exciting, and I did find a few good blogs which I'd never read before but in general it was a case of having to vote in catagories which cover subjects I have little interest in (Craft) or which were in languages I couldn't speak (some of European, all of South America).

Part of the problem was seeing the usual suspects on the lists yet again. There's no doubt that some of them are excellent, well writing blogs and that's why they're being voted for. But I read some many works which are just as good, if not better, but which simply don't have the audience or enough readers affected enough to give them one of the vital ten (I believe) votes in order to get on the shortlist we were given.

The catagories weren't tailored to the voter, from what I can guess because of time constraints. After emailing the Bloggie people, I ended up ommitting my South American category out of fairness, but I was saddled with having to select five of the political blogs even though I've never read any of them because they're covering the walls of power in a country not my own. I ended up pciking the A-Listers simply because I'd heard of them.

Oddly enough, Mike was with me and I wish I'd had his kind of dilemma: "When faced with the ethical dilemma of whether or not to vote for yourself in a particular category (see paragraph 3 section b), you will agonise for, ooh, seconds."


Shakespeare "As if to underline a parable-like quality in the production, fragments of Shakespeare's verse and quotations from Scripture are projected onto a rectangular screen above Daniel Conway's elegant, spartan set. The floor looks as if it has been lacquered; the twin columns on Folger's stage are sheathed in fluted translucent panels. The set's arresting focal point is a chamber, also enclosed in translucent walls. Bathed in scarlet light, the room is a kind of monument to the paranoia Angelo foments, a place for secrets and spies." -- Peter Marks on what sounds like an excellent staging of Measure for Measure, my favourite play that isn't Hamlet. [via]


People "I dislike the direction in which he took the Star Wars movies. Also, he looks like some kind of amorous ferret. Nobody can be forgiven for mistakes of Jar-Jar proportions. They must live out their lives in sad, horny, ferrety shame." -- Olivia on George Lucas. Amazing.


Music "One of our colleagues has decided that we are all crap, and that he is a far finer musician. He is indeed a fine musician when he is present. However, he has completely withdrawn. He sits between the treble and the bass and up against the radiator (to nurse the grating cough he has had for the four months I have known him) with a corduroy cap drooping over his eyes and an indigo scarf drawn Berber style across his nose and mouth, fearful that our imperfection is contagious and that he will catch it on the fierce desert wind of Lyon. As he gets angrier his strokes get more aggressive; as he recoils from us his ability to enter into another?s gesture disappears; as the élan and soft lines of his spirit abandon him he is left with harsh square noises in the place of music." -- Ruth experiences music differences.


TV "I'm going to have to put on some kevlar here, because I sense that what I'm about to sense may offend some people. But here it is: I don't like Battlestar Galactica. Yes, it's probably the most popular science fiction television show in years. Yes, it's getting rave reviews from nearly everyone who watches it. No, that doesn't mean that it's good TV." -- The Listless Lawyer goes out on a limb.

The problem is I absolutely understand the argument and to a degree is cuts to the core of the discussion I was having with Louise recently regarding The Bourne Identity. How far can realism be stretched to keep suspense within drama? Seatbelts on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek are perfectly important and logical but the crew sitting steady as they're attacked doesn't make for stylish television. If you sit down and write out everything that happens during an average day on 24 it becomes fantasy because its often three of four major catastrophic events in one day every couple of years. Wrong. Jibberish. But it is a particular kind of drama. The creative arts are not always logical. Sometimes they're just trying to be fun. [I'm never going to win this argument am I?] That said, some knock Babylon 5 but at least J. Michael Straczynski knew how it would all end. If only that were true in other series.


Plug! "The Open Rights Group pledge finally matured on Christmas day, and now we're proud to announce that the supporters' database is up and running and you can officially now give us cash! We've had a surge of donations since the email went out to pledge signatories, so please do join the stampede and let us have your fiver a month." -- Suw Charman needs your help.


Life I visited Warrington this morning. The place somehow came up in a conversation on Monday and I haven't been since the sculpture research project ended in the late 90s. It's not somewhere which has undergone massive change. The museum in particular is almost exactly the same, if slightly mustier.

The Local History library where I spent most of my time has a few extra microfiche machines and computers (although the same sign is up admonishing people for using more than pencils). The little bookshop I used to love visiting has gone, but there are many more charity shops. There's a large saucer-like fountain sploshing on the main street, but The Mad Hatter's Tea Party continues and Oliver Cromwell still stands guard.

If anything, it's undergone some more of the blanding out which is occuring throughout the country as cities and towns lose their local identity, each high street featuring most of the same shops configured into a different order. That said, one of the most niche shop's I've ever encountered, Denture Repairs, continues to fulfill its lucrative market.

bad mood

Commuter Life " 'You're in a fucking bad mood tonight,' she shouted suddenly, making everybody jump. Nobody was sure if she was talking to someone real or a person in her head, so we all pretended we hadn't heard and buried our noses back in our books and newspapers." -- Jayne Nelson's trip home last night on the London Underground was eventful. You'd imagine this couldn't end well, but ... oh just read it ....


Film "There was a relaxed feeling that enabled openness." -- Whit Stillman on shooting his first film Barcelona from a new brief interview on the advent of its Region One release. New work imminent apparently. [via]

buy Pixar

Film "The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday said it would buy Pixar Animation Studios in a $7.4 billion deal that gives Pixar animators creative control over the world's most famous cartoon studio and makes Pixar CEO Steve Jobs one of Disney's largest shareholders. Under the agreement, expected to close this summer, Jobs, who also heads Apple Computer Inc. will join Disney's board of directors." -- Luxo.

I really don't see why this deal could be anything but good. I've been slightly more forgiving about the Mouse House's latter theatrical output (Atlantis is a misunderstood bit of genius basically) but they have been falling back on old formulas just a bit too much -- especially with all the d2dvd sequels to earlier classics. Buying PIXAR not only allows for stability in the distribution of the CGI studio's earlier work and possible sequels (Toy Story 3 might turn out to be a quality piece of work after all) but also brings their expertise in-house, hopefully re-invigorating other areas of the company, animation or otherwise.



Ten Top Trivia Tips about Stuart!
  1. An average beaver can cut down Stuart every year.
  2. Stuart can give birth ten days after being born, and is born pregnant!
  3. Women shoplift four times more frequently than Stuart.
  4. On average, women blink nearly twice as much as Stuart.
  5. Without Stuart, we would have to pollinate apple trees by hand.
  6. Tradition allows women to propose to Stuart only during leap years.
  7. Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are Stuart.
  8. If you kiss Stuart for one minute you will burn six or seven calories.
  9. Stuart, from the movie of the same name, had green blood.
  10. Stuart can use only about ten percent of his brain!
I am interested in - do tell me about

It's truly scary how many of those may be true. (6) Explains a lot. I look forward to trying out (8). [via]


Life I've just loaded my chat software, Trillian to see if anyone is online -- no one as usual -- I've noticed the the mouseover message on the taskbar icon says 'partially connected'. My computer knows me better than I do. Funny.

step -1

Blog! "After years of having the blackest thumb known to gardening, I've started planting plants and they're even growing. Shocking. A friend suggested this was step -1 to getting a kitten, which is step 0 to having a baby. If so I hope this step lasts a few years at least, I can barely find the time to feed myself much less whip out a tit for a shrieking sprog." -- Belle de jour.

easy to read

Microsoft List of all the free downloadable software at Microsoft's website in an easy to read format. [via]

reluctantly teamed

Film "Christy Carlson Romano stars as the young and beautiful daughter of the original skaters from The Cutting Edge who is reluctantly teamed up with a handsome but aimless inline skater to begin training for Olympics pairs figure skating. As they train for the Olympics, neither of them will admit their need for their professional relationship to work. Nor will they admit their growing feelings for each other." -- Yes, it's a d2dvd sequel to that the film, which sounds more like a remake. Confusing.

deutschen schauspielern

Film "vor dem film, nach der tumben, nichtfunktionierenden werbung für safer sex ein hässlich geschnittener trailer mit hässlicher musik und hässlich gemachten deutschen schauspielern (moritz bleibtreu, christian ulmen, franka potente, nina hoss), produziert von bernd eichinger, dessous an celluliteschweren ärschen, eine geschichte von zwei brüdern, corinna harfouch sitzt hinter einem schreibtisch, mit herrischem blick, da gibts sicher mutterkomplexe, galore, blablabla, was das für ein hässlicher film wohl wird, 'muss man den jetzt sehen wollen?' fragt matthias rüber, und dann doch endlich der titel des films: elementarteilchen. oh je. ja, den muss man sehen wollen, offensichtlich. nein, das sieht nicht gut aus, bisher. und dann match point. oh je, oh je." -- Caro reviews Match Point. The awful Google translation (which reads like bad beat poetry) is here.

typically further

dvd "When extra nudity does pop up on DVD, it's not the kind of stuff that was too erotic for the big screen. Rather than introduce new boobs, unrated DVDs typically further the audience's understanding of boobs with which they're already acquainted. The added material is a stray frame here or there that doesn't add much carnal knowledge - these were boobs that were cut for time or dullness." -- Josh Levin of Slate discover the murky world of Unrated dvds. [via]


Quote! "It's easier to apologise than to ask for permission." -- quote I heard at university today.


TV "PASADENA, California (Reuters) - NBC's acclaimed White House drama "The West Wing" will conclude its seven-year run in May -- as had long been expected -- after languishing through a steep ratings decline in recent seasons, the network said on Sunday. In formally announcing plans to bring the series to a close on May 14, NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly stressed the show's fate was strictly a matter of TV democracy -- "West Wing" simply failed to draw enough viewers to keep it on the air." --- Seven seasons is certainly a good innings. Shame though. I've been watching the dreaded Fifth Season of late and it really began to work well in the later episodes.

Meanwhile Digital Spy are reporting that NBC have scored a deal for the cast of Friends to return for four one hour specials as well. More surprisingly 'another spin-off from the much-loved sitcom is also apparently on the way, starring all three male stars of the show, and slated to be called It's A Guy Thing', which, if true, should somewhat annoy the peripheral cast of current spin-off Joey.


Food Beefeater Restaurants have a dessert called the Horn of Plenty.

The Something

TV Just in case anyone is looking for a bargain, Play have the Doctor Who: The Beginning boxset on pre-order for £17.99, a whole twelve pounds off. I love that they've helpfully listed the titles of the thirteen episodes rather than just the whole stories. I hadn't noticed how many start with 'The' before. If you try reading them out loud without the 'The' they all sound like straight to video horror or disaster films starring people like Marc Singer or a pre-Sex In The City Kim Cattrall.

must have had

Art Anthony Cox demonstrates the somewhat obvious now you see it influence that Epsein's The Rock Drill must have had on the Battle Droid from Star Wars

I'm prepared

TV "I've got a petition of 57 names that I'm prepared to send to the Daily Express unless you promise in writing, to curb the extreme bad language and showing of gays on the television." -- Genuine complaint to Channel 4 regarding Celebrity Big Brother according to The Triforce. More here.

lucky buyers

Music "They cost an obscene amount to put on, an obscene amount to stage, and an obscene amount to buy tickets or, unless you happen to be one of the lucky buyers of one of their 'Listen, we ARE catering to the proles, we're selling tickets for Ten English Piynds! Can we have some more of that Arts Ciyncil Money Niy?' opera-for-everyone tickets. If it's all supposed to be about the music, then why not wear joggy bottoms and stand in a kitchen? In a very nicely acousticated kitchen?" -- Anna Pickard on opera. At the basic level I find it very hard to disagree.

posted by audience

Google "A year ago, Marissa Mayer revealed herself as the public face of Google, the world's biggest internet search engine, to a packed lecture hall. Later, in a blog posted by audience members, it didn't take long for a theme to emerge. One wrote: 'She's hot.' Another opined: 'Yes, she's a honey too.' A third said: 'She looks like Scarlett Johansson.'" -- David Smith of The Observer interviews the afformentioned. She can have fun too. Here are pictures from her 30th Birthday party!

goes to prove

That Day It's Mum's 60th birthday today. Really she doesn't look it. She wanted and I gave her an mp3 player which goes to prove ...

I'd hide here

Liverpool Life It is foggy in Liverpool today -- I'm looking out of my window and even now I can't see the sky. The rolling news channel this morning had pictures of the bus station at Paradise Street in the city centre being demolished to make way for more of the Paradise Project. This is the place I took the bus home for a whole year whilst I was working and I'd hide here in rainy weather to eat my lunch. Late at night it could be quite sinister when waiting in the brightly lit concourse looking out of the doorway into the dark of night. It wasn't a classic piece of architecture and I'm not sorry to see it go -- but it will be odd seeing the hole in the skyline were the shape used to be. Hopefully something appealing will be built in its stead.

Fog in Sefton Park


Fog in Sefton Park
Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

It's misty in the park today. You can't see from one end of the field to the other and as you can see barely through the trees.