Links for 2006-05-05 []

  • Laura Imbruglia
    Natalie's little sister.
  • Five things likely to make you happier in the short term
  • On Cyclops and the male gaze...
    Tom equates Laura Mulvey to comic books, I feel like I'm at college and my brain explodes. Amazing.
  • Baudy bard

    Shakespeare "Although I recognize that the general noder population is far more literary than the general population at large, I find quite often that even the most literary among us run into trouble with the bard. Here's a new (read: Better) way of looking at it, in a few painless steps: Shakespeare is like sex. Why? you ask. Sure he was bawdy and lewd, but most of his subtle penis jokes go straight over our heads in these days of T&A. *ahem* "Why, then is my pump well-flower'd," and "Give us the swords, we {women} have bucklers of our own," among others. Use your imagination for those. Get your mind into the gutter." -- everything2

    I'm getting lovely Fast Show flashbacks. 'You see Clive, Shakespeare is very much like making love to a beautiful woman....' [via]


    www Quick question about Quaero. What's the URL going to be? The .com is already taken.

    Any suggestions?

    Life I didn't at all expect to wake up to a whole new political landscape so I wasn't disappointed to find that nothing had really changed. Liverpool Council is still controlled by the Liberal Democrats despite some bizarre Labour gains, although everywhere else seems to be turning blue. My latest essay was finally handed in at noon, which lifted the weight off my shoulders a little bit, because I've only one more by the beginning of June and my dissertation before September. Sometimes it's good to have milestones in life. It gives you something to work towards. Now, if only I could decide what to do after that, assuming I manage to graduate. Any suggestions?

    Links for 2006-05-04 []

  • Sesame Street Video Clips

  • BlogFeeder: How to Post Links To Blogger
    I'm testing a new approach to adding links to the blog. This one seems to be working.
  • I am a number.

    TV Being possibly the only science-fiction genre television watcher to have only seen one episode of The Prisoner, and with only a passing idea of what the series is about, I’m slightly non-plussed that Christopher Eccleston would decide to do only one series of Doctor Who before falling headlong into the starring role of Number Six in a revival of Patrick McGoohan’s 1960s series.

    Although this is being marketed as a “radical re-invention” that will tell its tale within six episodes, it’s sure to be another hellish shooting schedule, which is one of the reasons Eccleston gave for only staying in the TARDIS for a single year.

    I’m more intrigued to see this version than the original (which I know will have some readers wanting to throw their monitors out of the window) if only because my taste is for drama series that have a format which provides answers and a natural conclusion, as is promised in the six episodes on offer here. Much as I love Twin Peaks, I find it really difficult to return to for a repeat viewing because I know that the secret of the black lodge will never be revealed. I’m one of the three people who thought the proposed X-Files crossover to close off those unanswered questions would have been a good thing, especially with all the possible mileage that might have occurred with Mulder turning up and looking not unlike a certain transvestite who crossed paths with Cooper.

    Certainly, the one episode of the original series of The Prisoner I’ve seen (the one in which a body is found on the beach of someone I think was supposed to be an associate of Number Six) looked very pretty in Portmeirion. It’s a shame the British village approach will be replaced with something in foreign lands, although that’s probably because of the vagaries of co-production money, to increase the ease of selling the series abroad and to play to as wide an audience as possible, not to mention the attempt by every new series to be the new Lost.
    Lord knows what the real fans of The Prisoner are thinking. Will they welcome Eccleston as readily as Whovians did last year?

    Seeing things.

    Film Can some please read the following web pages and let me know whether I'm reading things.

    This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD

    Terry Gilliam might direct adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

    Well, alright I know that I'm not reading things. But hey, look Lucas is screwing the fans again, quelle surprise. They're releasing them as double discs with the 2004 redux which anyone who'll be half interested on this occasion in seeing Han shoot first will have bought already. They'll call it added value. We'll call it an extra ten quid and emptier pockets. Expect the number of items on this ebay page to reach critical mass by Christmas.

    Time Out

    Liverpool Life "Time Out, the arts magazine with publications in London, New York and Chicago is looking to roll out regional editions across the UK, starting with Liverpool. The publishers have already held discussions in the city with a view to launching the title this autumn, or spring next year." --- Scott McCubbin for The North West Enquirer

    Well that is interesting. I've no doubt there's enough happening in the city to sustain the launch especially with the Capital of Culture celebrations in the future, but I wonder how long it will be before the listings section expands to take in the Wirral and farther affield simply for sustainability purposes. [via]

    I Am A Number

    Elsewhere In an exciting twist I've been invited to post at the Off The Telly blog which is an honour and pleasure. My first post about Chris Ex being hired to play Number Six in the remake of The Prisoner is here.

    Clogged out

    Film Tonight I attended seminar at BBC North run by the RSA for the Commonwealth Film Festival about the new cinema digital distribution network. The contributors, Dave Moutrey who runs the Cornerhouse and Tony Jones (founder of City Screen and one of the men behind Picturehouse cinemas who run the screens at FACT Liverpool), painted the technology in glowing terms although the message was actually pretty bleak - that the next wave of digital projection units will only be available with the help of the major studios who will in general, probably rightly, want their product presented on them -- which sounded like a return to the vertical distribution system at work during the hayday of Hollywood.

    Moutrey in particular was at pains to explain actually how difficult it is to bring new and exciting content to a cinema like the Cornerhouse when distributors want their first run movies filling a screen for every showing for weeks. I had to disagree with his review of their digital projection system, the flaws in which he thought would only be recognisable to a film 'trainspotter' (wince) or 'anorak' (wince again). I saw their presentation of A Cock and Bull Story and it actually included many of the annoyances you find in dvd releases, namely edge enhancement and artifacting. So yes, much clearer picture which doesn't change no matter how many times you show it -- I just don't think the technology is quite there yet.

    That wasn't the comment I made through. What I drew their attention to was the comment I've been reading online and getting from people offline about why they stopped going to the cinema -- the experience. The fact that you end up in an auditorium with people who don't understand the etiquette of not talking unless reacting, or not bringing a picnic, or not chatting on their mobile phone, which I said were some of the reason I haven't been to FACT for some time. I suggested -- so as not to go too far off topic -- that it's up to the distributors and to an extent the theatres to make sure that the audience they're bringing in are aware of the type of film they're about to watch -- avoid false advertising. They asked for an example and I gave them Match Point, which was sold as one type of film but by at least minute three with the voiceover, the freeze frame and opera music was already a mile away from the poster and half the audience started chatting because they wondered what the hell they were doing there.

    Cornerhouse Dave recognised that these were issues which is why they don't have a massive refreshment stand and don't sell noisy food and drink -- I mentioned that the Cornerhouse was one of the few cinemas I'll go to for these reasons. Tony Jones wasn't sure what I was on about I don't think, although he did make the important point that because the release schedule for films is getting shorter so that advertising is increasingly covering the theatrical presentation and the dvd they're in the position of having to wonder at what point it stops being worth their while even being in the business. On the basis of this meeting I can't see the situation changing much in the future. Even if digital 'prints' of films are cheaper to distribute with screens still being clogged out with content from the majors there still won't be anywhere to show them.


    Life Luckily for me and the people of Manchester I didn't in fact need to go naked today. It was warm but with a slight welcome breeze. I did encounter the first signs of the dibilitating clogging of my brain cells which happens every year. I remember in my old job I'd often be slumped at my desk wishing for the day to end because my mind had stopped working. The day I'd planned to spend reading Dava Sobel's book Longitude in preparation for an essay (no really) rapidly diminished to a few hours in the morning. I spent the afternoon glaring at a computer hoping that the essay I'd been so positive about a few days ago wasn't really as ghastly as it seems now. It's the heat. It does wierd things to your memory and mood.


    Food I passed a bus shelter advert today for Blackcurrant Jaffa Cakes. I have a question. It's Jaffa because of the orange. So can they rightfully continue their citrus association without this vital component?

    Stephen Colbert

    News Just a ruffle a few feathers, I saw Stephen Colbert's turn at the White House correspondance dinner today and it has to be the one of the most exciting half hours of comedy I've ever seen. The man stands about ten feet away from the ur-President of the free world and tells him he's moron and that he should get over himself, get off the world stage quietly and leave us in peace in many more words. I once saw Rory Bremner do similar material with Tony Blair in the same Breakfast With Frost studio and it didn't have the same bite as this. Mostly becuase, with all of his gurning, sorry grinning, it was clear that Bush didn't get it. The man's apparently displeased with Colbert's work now, but I've feeling it's only because someone explained the joke to him afterwards. You can almost imagine him and his equivalent of The West Wing's Charlie in the Oval Office going over the tape into the wee small hours of the night trying to decifer Colbert's words as though they're some kind of code ... 'What -- shot in the face?' [All the links you need at Manchizzle]

    Almost like being in love

    Life As I left Manchester tonight I was filled with a unalloyed sense of well being. Joy. To paraphrase the Nat King Cole song, it was almost like being in love, which is odd because for once I'm not actually in love with anyone at the moment, even pure and chaste from afar. It's the weather I'm sure, the six month grey grump giving way to the sun. The air seems fresher too, even in the city. Living between two places I have to make certain ... considerations and unbelievably the main one is the weather. I've always been notoriously bad at predicting if it will rain or shine and will inevitably end up wearing a big, thick coat on a really hot day. With two cites, the effect is magnified because whatever it looks like out of my window will be totally different to whatever someone is seeing out of the university library door.

    To combat this I've been taking the scientific approach and checking this amazing page at BBC Weather that lets me know at seven in the morning when I wake up what the temperature and chance of rain will be in Manchester that afternoon. If you take a look it actually breaks the day up into degrees and I've actually worked out an informal set of rules as to how many clothes I'll wear. So anything under 10 degrees and it's coat weather. 10-14 its the thick jumper. 15 and it's the tracksuit top. Anything over that and we're in the hallowed ground of t-shirt weather and a happy day. I'm looking at the gauge now and it's displaying 23 degrees at midday tomorrow which I've never seen before. That either means I'm going to have to change the scale to include thinner t-shirt or go naked.

    Pop is dead

    Music "Pop is dead and good riddance. We never had a throne, merely a stool, and who really wants a stool in our decadent society?" -- Daphne & Celeste.

    Daphne and Karen (it turns out) may be staging a comeback. On the basis of this interview that can only be a good thing. Their cover version of Alice Cooper's School's Out is one of the great lost musical masterpieces. [Wikipedia]

    Nearly five years

    Question Someone I met two years ago has brilliantly been back in touch and it turns out that she's been reading the blog all this time (Hey Liz!) and I was wondering if anyone has been reading for longer than that or even (eep) since since the blog began way back in 2001 when it was any good.

    Also, with the blog's fifth anniversary coming up it would be great if anyone wants to suggest any favourite posts or bits of writing and I'll include them in the half-decade review I'm putting together for that week.


    Commuter Life The train carriage felt very claustophobic tonight. Whether it was the people, the noise, the stuffiness or my own fatigue but I just wanted to huddle up and let the world go away. Sometimes that journey can seem to take minutes, other times, times like to tonight it feels as though I'm travelling from Manchester to London and beyond (Dover?).

    "Rose Tyler and Mickey Smith meet ..."

    Publishing K9 magazine.

    Haven' t the BBC missed an excellent opportunity to be on yet another magazine cover?

    Am I Hot Or Not?

    TV The bank holiday hit the overnight ratings across the board this week, but Doctor Who's School Reunion still managed to be the most watched show for the timeslot and over the whole day...

    BBC1 .... Doctor Who .............................. 7.6 (39.8%)
    BBC2 .... Snooker ...................................... 2.7 (14.8%)
    ITV1 ..... Hulk (film) .............................. 2.8 (15.1%)
    C4 ........ Britain Without Water (doc) ........ 1.3 (6.7%)
    Five ...... A League Of Their Own (film) ...... 0.6 (3.6%)

    So although the show lost a million viewers on last week, the audience share is still massive and is more than the other channels put together. Still amazing for any show these days to be pulling in that many viewers at the end of April with the summer holidays coming.

    "Why I like writing on a staff..."

    TV "It was fun being in an environment both social and writerly. It reminded me of why I like writing on a staff. So, (awkward transition), this might be a good time to address a question that someone asked me a while back about how the process of writing on a staff differs from writing a spec. Specifically, about the outlining part of the process: how much goes on, and of what kind. I've said some of this stuff before, but there's also new material in here. Check it out." -- Jane Espenson.

    "My wife left me..."

    DVD "Craig Robins is a former BBC videotape engineer who's worked in the broadcasting industry for over 20 years. He's devoted a year or so of his life to getting Joking Apart released on DVD, and - like Moffat before him - saw his marriage dissolve in the process. "I didn't ask Craig about that when we met," Moffat had told me anxiously, "which was a bit craven of me. I hope it didn't break up because he was doing Joking Apart. What do you think?". I'd replied that I wasn't sure, but I wouldn't rule it out. "No, I wouldn't either, " he said, obviously bothered by the notion." -- Graham Kibble-White at Off The Telly.

    An amazing article about the struggle to get one of my favourite, unsung, British sitcoms onto DVD. Joking Apart was about when I was just finishing my A-Levels and beginning university first time around. The way I remember it, I was the only person at my school who watched it being broadcast or understood it to be the work of genius it undoubtedly was. Unfortunately my ailing Matsui video decided to chew the one vhs tape which had any of the series on so I thought it was lost to me forever. Now here it is one shiny disc, truly something I never thought I would see. Excellent fan site here.

    "On the cover of the..."

    Journalism "No matter how liberal the magazine has been traditionally, it's probable that the Bush administration has allowed Rolling Stone to take up a cultural position far more similar to that of its origins than it has had in decades. A few years ago, in an article for entitled 'Rolling Stone Gathers No Marx', former Rolling Stone editor David Weir bemoaned its failure to live up to its radical promise. Weir pointed out that politics began to fall by the wayside at the magazine early, as the Vietnam War came to a close. If that's the case, then the war in Iraq may well have galvanised its comeback. Rolling Stone's circulation is up to 1.5 million now; before the war, it was 250,000 less than that." -- Gaby Wood in The Observer.

    I flirted with reading Rolling Stone when I commuted to Manchester last time. I remember sitting on Newton-Le-Willows' railway station one night tutting my way through an interview with Britney Spears and trying to plough through an article about the US senate. I eventually gave up because we receive the publication a few weeks late which meant that I always felt like I was time travelling. But in the end there were too many relevancy issues. Interesting as it is to expand your mind with news and comment and features about other genres of music and political environments, but too few hours in the day to keep track of your own. Choices, choices.

    Time to recover

    Life Good Sunday. This weekend feels like a second Easter without the chocolate eggs or religious significance. I haven't been writing much here lately due to essay writing commitments but I hope you enjoyed last night's gushing review of what the continuity voice beforehand described as Doctor Woo. Really, it was great and I can't believe units like SFX magazine were underwhelmed. I mean what do you people want?

    Last night too, I was inspired by this Guardian article to make some Carrot and Lime soup. I can cook, I mean I know how to pierce a film lid and turn the dial on a microwave. This was far less complicated than I expected. Although grating the carrot, potato and onion by hand may have been a mistake.

    I did panic that there was too much liquid, but I realised that it needed boiling and simmering for far longer than I was allowing and in the end the shebang was much smoother and flavoursome than I thought was possible with these fingers. Next week ... we'll see. I probably need to give the kitchen time to recover.

    This afternoon I enjoyed the an oddly appropriate film double bill of Lake Placid and Mean Creek. The former is a funny action adventure about a giant killer crocodile, the latter an indie repost to those teen films like I Know What You Did Last Summer that attempts to apply realistic reactions to a horrible event. So, well, actually only the titles and locales are connected. But both films come highly recommended.