Review 2006: Epilogue

Review of Review 2006

When I decided what I would be doing for Review 2006 this year I inevitably had no idea of the range and scope it would take or that in the end it would only sporadically actually be a review of the year 2006. Most days I would spend hours writing these pieces and the rest of the time would be spent thinking of answers. Some predictably came much more easily than others and required more research. I hadn't planned to write so many mini-essays and on reflection I perhaps should have set myself a word limit to save on the wildest excesses. But then, I think some of the best pieces are the longest.

I should also have expected that some of the questions would be quite personal, especially since for most of the time I'm not that open on the blog, certainly less prone to personal gossip than others. I know some of you were disappointed that I didn't go into even more detail sometimes, but since the algorithm at Google is getting really good at fishing out information, I wanted to save a few blushes (although one of these days I promise to tell you the story of my first kiss since I don't even know her name so can't even mention it).

I think it best to simply represent the questions with updated information and comments, a kind of annotation, including some catch up on what else might have been happening in life when I was posting these answers. One of the things I was very conscious of is that there's only so much text that people will read, and I'm surprised, pleased and blessed that there are people who have read everything and I hope enjoyed at least some of it.

Why can't Liverpool FC win away from home?
Google 'liverpool away form' and this post is right at the top. Meanwhile, their performance has improved.

Given that Casino Royale is in the cinema's at the moment - just how many girls has Bond been with? How many can you name (characters)?
I was given The Best of Bond compilation for Christmas which oddly doesn't put the songs in chronological order. It features Lulu's Man With A Golden Gun and Shirley Bassey's Moonraker which are catastrophic. I do have a soft spot though for Rita Coolidge's All Time High, although it's disappointing they couldn't have worked the film's title Octopussy in somewhere.

If you could have your own total fantasy life, what would it be like?
My coffee machine broke down and I had to go out and buy a new one. For the science that's attributed to the production of a cup of black coffee, outside of Starbucks I haven't tasted anything better than what's produced from this coffee filter machine that cost six pounds. Another christmas present was a set of coffee mugs in various sizes that when stacked together with their saucers show a complete picture of the Eiffel Tower. Amazing.

Whenever I think of doing something like a blog, I always worry that anything I write would either sound really pretentious or be very boring. How do you handle those fears and just write?
Writing Review 2007 has helped me enormously in terms of simple having to sit down and writie something. I'm not proud of every answer -- some could be tighter, others better structured but overall I'm glad that I did this. I'm still not sure what my voice is, although I really need to stop using the words 'although' and 'really' quite so much.

Throughout most of The Empire Strikes Back, the Millenium Falcon's hyperdrive is not working (should have gone to Kwik Fit!) so it can't travel faster than light! However, there is a point where they travel from the Anoat System to the Bespin system. Separate Star systems would never be less than a couple of light years apart (I presume!), i.e. at least two years travel even if they could attain just a tiny bit less than light speed! It clearly doesn't take them this long, so is it some sort of 'worm-hole' or curved universe phenomena that they utilise to accomplish their trip? I simply must know! :) Thank you!
I thought of another possibility. Temporal anomaly. See a hundred episodes of Star Trek.

You might have covered this before, but, why Stuart *Ian* Burns - and not just Stuart Burns? And, if I can squeeze in another related to that, how do you feel about people who spell it "Stewart"?
Sure enough, my MA degree certificate says 'Stuart Ian Burns'. Still seems right somehow.

I only thought of this last night, but I'd be interested to read your musings on the adverts shown on the programmes you watch a lot. There is a point. They must be aimed at a certain type of audience, the people they expect to be watching, but they're often wildly off. What's sort of person do they think you are, and what can be the logic behind those decisions?
I was watching a video recording of Queen Christina, the Greta Garbo film, recorded from Channel 4 in the late nineties. One of the adverts I remembered seeing before was for Super Noodles -- you might know the one -- were a Dad is eating noodles and uses a shirt to wipe his mouth and then discovers its the one his wife was going out in so he blames it on the young child who is sitting on the couch. Camera changes angle and it's Martin Freeman, looking oh so young.

Have you ever found the one true love in your life, but not been in a position to do anything about it, for whatever reason?
An anonymous commenter said something rather beautiful about this: "It's all about timing. even if you do find the right person, it has to be the right time or else, it just isn't going to happen, or you try to make it happen and it ends up messing everything up. Good thing you're in the film making business because there are billions of falling in and out of love stories and we all think our own is something special and unique because it was. to us."

Why do people say "cheap at half the price" when they mean the full price is also, well, cheap? Makes no sense to me!"
It's funny how I was able later to come up with a more logical argument for science over religion than this.

Of all the trivia that you've blogged or read over the years, which bit sticks in your mind the most, and why?
Despite what I said above, I'm going to start drinking more water again. Too much coffee is making me quint and my hands are shaking.

What's the major problem with Torchwood and can Russell T Davies fix it or is it a lost cause? Can a showrunner really run two shows at once?
This was probably the most popular post of the Review and is still being linked on blogs and discussion boards, including this Danish usenet board were they roundly criticised it (I think - I was translating using Babel Fish). Torchwood didn't improve, and now with The Sarah Jane Adventures there are three shows on the slate. Good luck Russell.

What one question, if asked, would you be most inclined to answer with a lie - and why?
Resolved not to simply say ok and ask genuine questions. I did bump into someone out shopping on Christmas Eve had a whole conversation with them and have absolutely no idea who they were even though they seemed to know a hell of a lot about me. It wasn't one of you was it? I felt awful.

I've kindly been given a subscription to LoveFilm and while I have a few things I'd like to see I want to make the most of the opportunity and see films I wouldn't otherwise. I have a largely uneducated interest in foreign film, particularly French and Italian - any recommendations? No horror please, just interesting and beautiful films you think are worth watching.
Horrifying lack of foreign cinema on tv over Christmas, even on BBC Four. There was a horrifying lack of any art house films at all in Freeview land. Sky Cinema and TCM seem to have the rights sewn up.

What do you feel provides the human race with answers, closest to the truth, Science or Religion?
When I went to Birmingham for the job interview, I visited St. Martin's Church near The Bullring. It's a lovely building and despite everything I said in this post, I still felt a tremor and not a little bit humbled. If that happens I know that I can't simply call myself an aethist. That too seems simplistic. When I told my mum, she said that I was a Questioner, which sounds like a nice substitute for the now appropriated by someone else Non-denominational Spiritualist. I was happy to see that Gia agreed with me, and someone else left some useful supporting material in this comment. I have some very smart readers.

What are you most afraid of and why? What have you done to overcome your fears?
I began applying for a job earlier and on the pull down menu at the site I was able to select Merit. Outstanding. When my graduation photo arrived, it didn't half look bad. I should have worn a different tie.

Can you explain the appeal of Keira Knightley?
Coming up next after the next (hopefully last) Pirates of the Caribbean film, Knightley is back in a frock for Silk, "A dark love story about a French silkworm merchant who travels to Japan and begins having an affair with a Nobleman's concubine, leaving his faithful wife alone in war-torn France." [imdb] which raised the spectre of an outrageous French accent, Atonement the next film from Joe Wright who directed Pride and Prejudice, based on the Ian McKewan novel and The Best Time of Our Lives from John Maybury, director of The Jacket -- "Two feisty, free-spirited women are connected by the brilliant, charismatic poet who loves them both." Rumour has it the other feisty, free-spirited woman is Lindsay Lohan which seems like type-casting to me ...

What's the next new thing that's being talked as something that's going to 'revolutionize' our lives in say 6 - 10 years time? It can be in any sphere you like.
Didn't snow on Christmas Day and it was the wind what led to the postponing of the fireworks at New Year.

Now that it's all done and dusted, what sequence would you recommend watching the six Stars Wars films? Although I've tried, I still can't watch them in I,II,III,IV etc order ...
Apparently just days before The Phantom Menace was due to be lensed, George Lucas rang Steven Spielberg and begged for him to take over the directing of the film. He declined. Shame. He ended up doing the animatic for the lightsaber battle in the lava at the end of Sith which is probably one of the best things in any of the films.

Next Saturday, I'll be back in Liverpool for the day, with my girlfriend. One of the reasons for the visit is so that she can get a better feel for the city because we're thinking of moving there. So, can you tell me where the hidden cool and interesting bits of Liverpool are?
Brilliantly, Adrian has written about what happened that day: "Leaving Paddy's Wigwam led us naturally along Hope Street, past the Everyman and the Phil(harmonic Hall). We'd timed it so that we could stop around here for lunch, and The Quarter restaurant proved an excellent recommendation. Thanks Stuart. The food was lovely; service was superb; and we even bought one of the artworks on display on the walls." My pleasure. In an email, Adrian says that coincidentally he got the Pevsner guide for Christmas too.

Who's your favourite and least favourite Doctor, and companion?
The new BBC7 series with Paul McGann certainly vindicated my choice -- he was better than ever. Doctor Who Magazine's review section described it as 'Essential' which from their reviewer Matt Michael who never seem to be impressed with anything is high praise indeed. The dramas can be heard every Sunday at 6pm and midnight and is on listen again here. If you hurry, you'll be able to hear the first episode. New companion Lucie was good, but I've still got a soft spot for Charlie...

Have you ever had any kind of casual/one of experience with a member of the same sex? Even if just a suppressed crush on an actor or musician etc?
Jess wondered: "Do you think perhaps he might have been a bit tipsy, rather than trying to chat you up?" Yes! Watching Queen Christana, and the scene were Garbo feels her way around the inn room so that she can remember it, I resolved to see every other film she ever made.

People say money can't buy you happiness. I find this an over simplification of a complicated argument. What is your point of view?
I found a ten pound note in my wallet I didn't know I had. That made me happy.

What is the significance of the Wolf in American Indian teachings?
Questioner Alan left his own succinct answer in the comments: "Wolves symbolize family, teaching, co-operation, insight, stealth, strength, leadership, loyalty, freedom, individuality, psychic energy connected to the moon (hidden wisdom), sharing knowledge and wisdom, cunning, hunting, seeking, introspection, listening, magick, dreams, They are connection to the moon and to Wepwawet, Zeus Lycaeus, Apollo, Ares, Mars, Silvanus, Cernunnos and Odhinn." Thanks Alan.

What are your views on the pedestrianisation of Norwich city centre?
When I passing up Church Street in Liverpool just before Christmas I heard a busker outside HMV singing the theme tune to 'Cheers' -- 'Sometimes you wanna go - were everybody knows your name ...' I had to give him some pennies. If there'd been a road and traffic, I might not have heard him.

What is your favorite film and why?
My main present this year, the back issues of Movie magazine are proving to be amazing. Today I was reading all kinds of insights into the transition from silent to sound. For example, the really smart actors and actresses left Hollywood for a few months during the transition and returned to the stage, sometimes to tiny roles, so that they could retrain and discipline their accents so that it would be legible or deamable as acceptible on screen. They were brought back into the fold with open arms. Many of those who decided to stick it out or decided they were too famous and untouchable found themselves getting less and less work because the sound of their voice wasn't what people were looking for.

Which bit of trivia about you would you like to be remembered by?
Number thirteen.

BBC4 have just given you carte blanche to create your own TV evening from 7pm-2am. What do you show and why?
Oddly enough Measure for Measure was featured in the documentary Lenny and Will over Christmas. You can hear it here (link opens BBC Radio Player).

Do you think any of the cultural stereotypes about English people are true?
In the comments, Probitionate suggests a few more: "1) Fabulous, endemic sense of humour. (This is creeping into my 'insights' list, but really; you guys know how to laugh. Any nation that has panto is on the right-track Life-outlookwise, in my book.) 2) Despite being 'prudish' (a distinctly 'class-oriented' stereotype), a ribald sense of the sexual. (Benny Hill and Page 3 birds) 3) Especially when there's beer involved...gregariously, heart-warmingly friendly. (Ask me -insights-wise? about two of the most endearing qualities connected to this, wrapped-up in language.)"

Why is Doctor Who so disappointing all of a sudden? Is it down to age?
Inevitably in Doctor Who Magzine, Russell T Davies mentions some of the destinations in the next series and they include the far-flung planet, Malcassairo and a world set thousands of light years away. Along, at least, with visits to 1930s New York and Elizabethen London, this looks like the most ambitious season yet.

Would you stop writing your blog if your stats told you there were 0 readers?
Still here. Still writing. Still looking at the stats.

Which famous 5 people, dead or alive, would you invite to a dinner party. What would you eat/drink? What entertainment would you lay on for the 6 of you afterwards?
Madeleine Peyroux did a turn on Jool's Holland's Hootenanny 2006, prerecorded for New Year's Eve. She looked ... uncomfortable and didn't sound right. She pitched womanfully on, and then gave a look at the end which showed she wasn't happy with her performance either. I think it was something to do with sound feedback because she had her finger in her ear through most of it. Still, at least we could hear her. Look what happened to Sophie Ellis Bextor on the other side...

This has once again been a wonderful experience and certainly the biggest challenge yet. Don't forget it's your turn next year and I already have a couple of ideas, one of which will begin extra specially early. I'll let you know ...


  1. Anonymous9:15 am

    Thanks for inviting me to submit a question to this review, and for answering both that I did in the end send in. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading the whole series.

    Happy New Year to you and may 2007 bring even more excellent blog posts.

  2. Anonymous2:42 pm

    Thanks for answering 1 of my questions my English friend. Perhaps you could e-mail me the answer to the other one that didn't get through ?

  3. My pleasure. Any outstanding question will be looked at ... eventually ... give me a bit of a break though ...