Tools Type your flickr user name in here. Isn't that useful? Also finds your long forgotten flickr ID which means you can finally link your photostream to feedburner...
People Also, just to confirm something someone said to me today, I really fancy Christine Bleakley, Chloe Hanslip, Sandra Oh and Emily Gould. Did I cross a line?

In which I make a dramatic discovery halfway through trying to make an entirely contradictory point.

Liverpool Life It's the time of year when Liverpool fills with twentysomethings in gowns and hats attending graduation. For a time, roughly the decade between 1996 and 2006, when I'd look them with envy even though I'd graduated, I already had a degree. Some of this is to do with a bizarre sense of not having made the most of my undergraduate years (even though a proportion of all my stories begin with 'When I was at university first time around...') but also because of a perpetual academic itch, the impression that I must always be working towards a qualification.

Today though, I didn't feel very much at all other than -- 'I have one of those'.

My post-graduate course it seems has nullified my academic itch. I still want to be learning and I couldn't think of anything better than spending some more hours in an academic library just reading and I've enjoyed attended the odd lecture at the University as part of their Capital of Culture programme. And I liked the interconnectedness that people develop when their collectively working towards a qualification. And the sense of satisfaction in a job well done.

Erm ... oops ...

It seems in writing the last paragraph I'm realising that that academic itch really hasn't gone away. Reading random books and attending lectures is as nothing to exploring a subject in a structured manner and discussing the implications with your peers then writing up your discoveries and hopefully gaining praise. I miss the intensive approach to learning. In seeing these new graduates I'm not so much thinking 'I have one of those' as 'Can I have one of those'. At the age of 24 someone told me they thought I was an eternal student. They're right.

TV Russell T Davies is done with Doctor Who after next year. His reason's perfectly honourable -- he doesn't want Steven Moffat to feel like Davies is looking over his shoulder all the time, but it is a shame since when he's good he's very, very, good and writing episodes like Midnight. And when he's bad -- well we'll just have to see how good tomorrow night's season ender is. Anyone else just want to be over so that the incessant chatter will cease? This past week the mainstream media's looked and sounded like a slightly less spoddy Outpost Gallifrey>Doctor Who Forum. And by Sunday they'll revert to calling us anoraks.
Politics I don't know about other Liberal Democrat supporters, but whenever I read something like this I also wonder. Why did he have to be one of ours?
"Living With The Cheeky Girls is pretty much like living life in the fast lane. You see The Cheeky Girls in every single situation - at home, relaxing, doing the family, performing on stage. There's me going on holiday with my fiancé Lembit and Monica going on a disastrous day out in Paris. As well, we went to Romania, where we went for work and some family issues. Everything we do is seen."
We liked Lembit when he was just the mass extinction predictor. These days, no matter how impressive Nick Clegg is being in parliament, Opik's just behind appearing in programmes like this. There'll doubtless be enough material here to fill episodes of Have I Got News For You for years to come.

"I get angry when I go without sleep." -- Christina Yang, "Grey’s Anatomy"

TV I should really hate Grey’s Anatomy, the first season of which I’ve finally managed to watch on DVD. It’s not like it’s doing new things with the medical genre, rerunning most aspects of St Elsewhere and Cardiac Arrest under private medical care, not entirely sure how much ever whether it wants to be an ensemble drama about trainee surgeons or a standard complication discovery series. For the uninitiated, it’s the story of a group of trainee surgeons in a Seattle hospital, essentially e.r. Carter’s storyline for the first five or six seasons repeated four or five times with an injection of estrogen.

I’ve never been one for guilty pleasures and I usually have zero tolerance for duff shows and this has all the hallmarks; stock characters such as the kindly department chief mixing with the nerdy intern sparring with a lathario; lapses into montage sequences sutured together with rubbish MOR, tonal collapses left right and centre as the piano swells in as a patient it told they’ll die, usually with characters acting entirely out of character in an attempt to give a scene some substance. It’s gob smacking actually that any series in the naughties can be as popular as this is supposed to be and still spend so much time delivering such predictable storylining in such a bald way, the end of season cliffhanger guessable from about two episodes in.

At the epicentre of its problems is titular character Meredith Grey, an often whiney Ally McBeal wannabe whose oh so nineties voiceovers signpost the themes of the episode in a way in much the same way as My So-Called Life but without the wit. Some of the problem is Carla Bruni-a-like Ellen Pompeo’s performance, all sighs and whispers and bizarre facial ticks but the design of the character’s on shaky ground – though her mother’s incapacity is meant to create some sympathy, she’s clearly from a privileged background and already well aware of life’s pitfalls and more importantly, despite a lapse in judgement in relation to her sexual partner, basically has her life together.

Yet, I sat through all nine episode and I can’t wait for series two. Because no matter how godawful it is in some respects, every now and then there’ll be something, a moment, a performance, a storyline such as forcing Grey to carry a penis around all shift, which makes rest worth dragging myself through. Pompeo's fellow trainees are far more interesting – Katherine Heigl’s trailer park graduate who took to underwear modeling to pay for her tuition in particular seems more like the kind of person who should be dispensing life lessons. Every time I was about to give up, an episode would open with a Nellie McKay track, or there’d be a storyline in which everyone in the hospital had to be tested for VD or a really interesting guest actor such as Dead Like Me’s Callum Blue would show up, say little but add a lot.

But more often then not, when the show’s not trying so desperately to be just another medical drama, the script can be very smart and there’s a real sense of friendship amongst the trainee doctors and some spot on performances particularly from the Heigel and the brilliant Sandra Oh who usually gets the most acerbic lines. It can be deadly funny when it wants to be, as in the final episode when the aforementioned decide to carry out an autopsy, which neither of them have really admitted to not having done before and then Oh pulls out a text book so that they can do it right. The series just needs to be careful (and you’ll know whether it managed this having probably watched more seasons than me) that as happens in a couple of later episodes in this first nine that it doesn’t highlight the patient’s records at the expense of the far more interesting regular characters. If I want that, I’ll rewatch old episodes of Casualty, especially the one about the almonds.

"Meanwhile, a couple of individuals associated with the show itself ably demonstrated that they really should have stuck to acting."

TV If you were lucky enough not to get The Twin Dilemma as your free Target novel with this month's party newsletter and you're a newer fan looking for a decent primer on the world of spin-off fiction, Talk About The Passion offers a two part article (part 1, part 2) describing what you've missed. Sample:

"Despite the fact that some of their poorer offerings would have bored even the average ‘younger reader’ to tears, in the mid-seventies Target decided to have a try at adapting some of their Doctor Who books for an even more youthful, um, target audience. The responsibility for this fell to - you guessed it - Terrance Dicks, who completed ‘Junior’ versions of The Giant Robot and, rather more oddly, the notoriously gothic horror-tinged The Brain Of Morbius, before they realised the range was a non-started and cancelled it."

Found at Out of the Blue Six, who is also carrying the scan of a rather brilliant foreign cover for Morbeus, in which it appears to be have been co-opted by a couple of Billy Zane clones.

[All original links broken :( ]

Superlambanana-on-and-on #2

Life I was on Hope Street this morning visiting the three or four Superlambananas which appear between LIPA and The Phil, including the infamous hard-hatted mini which was stolen/borrowed by those student. There's something quite unreal about taking photographs of public art in the pouring rain at quarter to eight o'clock in the morning, particularly since this street is rarely otherwise so deserted. But I do like the city in that state, peaceful except for the hammering through of cars and vans. I'm currently trying to decide whether to post the collection in dribs and drabs or all together to flickr as a single statement.
Art Gormley's human exhibit wins battle of Trafalgar:
"Gormley's proposal One And Other is that the plinth is occupied for 100 consecutive days, 24 hours a day, by members of the public who have volunteered to stand on it for an hour at a time." [...] "Over this period 2,400 people will be able to participate." [...] "Gormley said: "Through elevation on to the plinth and removal from common ground, the body becomes a metaphor, a symbol and allows us to reflect on the diversity, vulnerability and particularity of the individual in contemporary society." "
I'd hate to be on the Friday night 3am shift. "What are you doin' up there for?" "I'm a sculpture." "No you're not." "I am, I'm a symbol too." "A symbol of what?" "Oh just go away will you." "Don't you tell me what to do, 'symbol'. Can I have a go?"
Film The discovery of a complete print for Fritz Lang's Metropolis is really exciting, as is the news (at least to me) that the original cut was nearly four hours long. Will this obscure our appreciation of the film or enhance it?
Music The BBC have released schedule details for this year's Proms due to beging in a fortnight and wouldn't you know they're even more comprehensive than last year. There isn't as much crossover between BBC's Two and Four and the former is going to have a weekly Saturday night slot which is a mix of pre-records and live presentations. Loads of Beethoven Mahler and Sibelius. As you'd expect, I'm a bit cross that the Doctor Who Prom hasn't found a tv spot during the festival -- perhaps they're saving it for closer to Christmas -- or the franchise famine next year.
Film Some great screenplay writing tips:
"I think people see inspiration as the ignition that starts the process. In fact, real moments of inspiration often come at the last minute, when you've sweated and fretted your way through a couple of drafts. Suddenly, you start to see fresh connections, new ways of doing things. That's when you feel like you're flying. The real pleasure of any script is the detail. And a lot gets lost in the process. Put it back in at the last minute."
When I used to delude myself with scripting I most enjoyed simply writing scenes from the top, middle and bottom and then seeing how they'd join together. The main problem I had was that I much preferred character work, but all of my ideas demanded masses of plotting.

Superlambanana-on-and-on #1

Life I went hunting today. My feet hurt. My knees hurt. There are pains in the spaces behind my knees. On my back. And shoulders. Today I managed to shoot forty-four of the beasties and walked right around Liverpool, from Exchange Flags to the Metquarter, from Liverpool One to Jamaica Street. None of them moved and most of them seem to have selected the most picturesque parts of the city as their habitat.

I’ve been hunting Superlambananas.

It’s one of the reasons I decided to invest in a digital camera and it’s become another one of my mad fool challenges since unlike every right and sane person, I’m visiting and photographing them in the numerical order they appear on the official map. The couple of people I’ve told on my travels look at me understandably agog. Now and then they’ll say something like ‘That’s a good idea’, clearly humouring this loony. On Saturday I worked through the first twenty-one and today from twenty-two to sixty-eight.

This is not how the map was designed. Often the numbers are in slightly random order which means ignoring one lamb whilst I stagger up a hill to another. Having almost completed the city centre today, I’m going to have to make bus rides to all over the rest of suburban Liverpool before I can take shots of some creatures much closer to home. Luckily, the works which have been installed in London Euston and Moel Famau National Park are at the very bottom of the list.

It’s the perfect way to practice using my new camera, trying out the settings, working out which is best for interiors and exteriors and when to use a flash. There’s a rather good option for taking shots of flowers which brings out the colours of the superlambananas. I’ll be posting the pictures to flickr and writing about each one when I’ve the time. The notes for the first, Super ‘WiFi’ lambananafon, include my usual a rash statement of intent except, and this is important, I couldn’t really say why I’m doing it. For the challenge. Because I should. Or just because.
Film Watching Hal Hartley’s Trust just now has reminded me of just how the independent film ‘industry’ was in the early nineties before the big studios began to control production. Hartley’s is a singular voice; like the great auteurs his films with their understated acting, lyrical dialogue and deserted suburbia paradoxically offer a more realistic evocation of the human condition than the costume dramas and self-consciously post-modern movies that clogged up the release schedule that saw that decade out.

Here, we find a meeting of misfits; twentysomething Martin Donovan lives with an abusive father and sometimes repair televisions, teenage Adreinne Shelley causes hers to have a heart attack when she reveals her pregnancy. As the film progresses he learns the simple life from her and she realises that there’s more to life than fashion and boys and as the title suggests they learn to Trust one another. It’s the incidental details of their personalities – he carries a grenade ‘just in case’ and she is trying to find a baby snatcher – which provide the most pleasure.

It’s also just refreshing to see a film with such a spare style, with long takes at allow the actors room to do their job without the camera restlessly rolling hither and thither, or an editor with an itchy splicing finger. Much of the film happens in two shots and though this is probably a function of the budget, they’re never less than interesting and much of that has to do with being in the company of these players, Donovan and Shelley in particular. The latter is simply amazing, perfectly capturing the girl’s developing maturity, a process completed in a final heartrending shot.
Life I like clouds. I like the way that they'll often just sit in the sky above, unmoving, seemingly fixed points and yet on average they only exist in their present state for about ten minutes before they transform into something new. Sometimes the wind shifts their structure, sometimes they hammer towards us as rain, sometimes they fill the sky, almost letting you know what kind of day its going to be. They're a constant reminder that everything changes and there's nothing you can do about it.

But today, at midday, they were gone. I looked upwards and the earth's ceiling was simply light blue in all directions. I've heard the phrase 'not a cloud in the sky' but this is the first time I remember noticing their absence. I took a photograph but all it looks like is a screenshot from a certain Derek Jarman film. Then, sure enough, the wind above shifted and the familiar wisps returned. I decided it was going to rain tomorrow. The weather forecast on the radio agrees with me. Good job I like rain too.
Film John August offers a post-mortem on the release of his film The Nines: "By focusing on the U.S. release, I largely ignored the international markets until the Venice Film Festival, where we played in Critics’ Week. The smarter plan would have been going to Sundance with the intention of going to Berlin right after, followed by Cannes, followed by every other meaningful festival which invited us. 6 Given family and work commitments, there was a natural limit to how much I could have done. But a real first-time filmmaker could easily spend a year traveling with his movie."
Spam This Just In: Scarlett Johansson is a Teutonic Clone!: "Hello dear ladies and gentlemen!I would like inform you that Scarlett Johansson (actress) actually is a clone from original person, who has nothing with acting career. That clone was created illegally by using stolen biological material. Original person is very nice (not damn sexy), most important—CHRISTIAN young lady!"

The view from my window three hours ago, in the Daily Post

The first proper photograph with my new digital camera has been printed in the local newspaper. Amazing.


I’m very pleased that The Guardian thought the late Cliff Hall significant enough to grant him a fulsome obituary in today’s paper.  I was understandably saddened by his recent death since his folk group, The Spinners, were the first musicians I really paid attention to growing up.  My parents were amongst those who would visit the folk clubs listed in the article and knew the players personally.  We have signed records and programmes somewhere.  I remember the house filling with their music every Sunday when I was pre-teen and their Christmas concerts at The Phil were the cornerstone of the festive season, as important as a real tree and home made mince pies.

Even now I can say that I loved them more than The Beatles.  Whereas the ‘fab’ four seemed to sing about a fantastical land which looked nothing like the place I was growing up in, the songs The Spinners chose to make famous had the real Liverpool and its culture running through them.  In My Liverpool Home offered a foundation to my city’s history and The Leaving of Liverpool captured better than any other song the emotions I felt going away to university the first time (even though obviously it's about the great Irish emigration to the new world).  I do hope someone decides to commemorate his loss by curating a proper collection of their songs on cd -- the current selection is a disappointment -- and Amazon perenially confuse them with some men from Detroit.

Stuart Ian Burns,

The Stolen Earth.

"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." -- Albert Einstein

TV Or twelve episodes. That Einstein really was a genius wasn’t he? The above quote opened out Roger Ebert’s review of The Happening and I hope you’ll forgive its Persaudian invocation here, because much like The Stolen Earth at about minute forty I have no idea where this review is going. As I somewhat indicated last week, I usually have some idea what I’m going to write beforehand, a plan, a way of hammering out a thousand odd words on a Saturday night. Realistically it’ll end up looking like the kind of shopping list Russell T Davies wrote for himself before scripting tonight's dose of digital madness and part of me’s thinking, you know, what’s the point?

That was one of the most viscerally exciting fifty minutes since the series came back. It’s easy to use that kind of hyperbole, so easy I've used it before, yet I can’t imagine there were many fans, as David hunched over the Tardis console, who weren’t screaming. I thought my Bad Wolf fangasm last week would lead to the evacuation of bodily fluids. This week I actually gave myself a migraine. No metaphoric brain explosion, an actual physical reaction. I’m not a football fan, but I suspect the only comparable euphoria would be a last minute winning streak in a cup match which looked doomed to failure.

Russell T Davies’s writing is actually endangering my health and I’d be consulting a lawyer if I didn’t love him and the show so much. My reaction, if I really want to analyse it, wasn’t just because of the in-story events, the Doctor and Rose finally reunited only for the inevitable Dalek interference; for someone who follows the construction of these things so closely, the writing, there’s also the squeal of delight because of the audacity of the storytelling and also the fact that unlike the loss of Mr Eccleston, the temporary loss of Rose, the return of The Master and the return of Davros, we quite simply didn’t know about this, no nasty tabloid hack to destroy the fun.

When that gold halo engulfed that actor, just for a brief moments I was absolutely convinced that some other actor’s the new Doctor and the Dave’s appearance on set during the lensing of the Christmas special was all just a red herring. Either that or Paul McGann’s agent is in a very happy mood (I can dream can’t I)? Who else could possibly fill those trainers? Who could be filling those trainers and be someone wouldn’t have leaked it? The three punch ‘To Be Continued’ was the sassiest bit of lettering the show’s ever thrown at us and if Bachman-Turner Overdrive had supplied the closing title music it wouldn’t have been too much of a surprise.

If this is a regeneration, a proper regeneration, then bye-bye David it’s been great. Except the establishing shot of the fighting hand in the teaser suggests that it’s going to interfere with the cycle, or there’s some hitherto unknown aspect of the process still to be revealed. The eagle eared would also have heard Mr. Tennant note what was happening on the set when Mr Bleach was around and how would he know that unless he was there working with him? Plus, the lack of another leading man at the read-through, implies some other skullduggery at work. Is this the first time Confidential’s editing decision has supplied spoilers?

Julian Bleach has clearly worked his was through the Davros dvd boxset because at no point did you think that this was a different man and indeed he was even creepier than his predecessors, affecting a hunch and a rasp. As with the Sontarans, the Neill Gorton's make up admirably accentuated rather than reinvented what had gone before. The creator’s appearance here obviously knocks the spin-off canon for six, but since that’s not even consistent in and of itself (for reasons too boring to go into here), what does it matter? Along with crazy Dalek Caan and haughty Dalek Supremo this is a scary a force as they’ve been since the showboating of the close of the first series – an impression aided by the look of terror in the eyes of both Jack and Sarah.

The Mill excelled themselves in creating the planet infested Medusa Cascade redolent of the shots of infinite worlds which appear in DC Comic’s Crisis series. The entire cast, all several hundred of them including Dempsey, were on top form, with the main guests enjoying the many great moments Davies gifted them carefully still keeping the worlds of each of spin-off separate. Even in this family friendly fantasy, Torchwood were still sex obsessed with Ianto largely stealing those scene, whilst Luke upstaged Sarah-Jane again even as she confirmed finally that the fanfare actually comes from inside Mr. Smith’s innards. It was clever too to suggest that Martha was enjoying a lead role in some hithertoo unseen US based UNIT series at least until the Daleks arrived to exterminate it.

Now, since all this is going in exactly the direction I hoped it wouldn't, meandering in exactly the direction I expected it would, I’m instead going to pause and make a confession, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you for quite some time. Shut up, it’s not that. If it was that, I’d have told you that already. Leave it. The confession is by way of a story, one which begins in mid-April. I’m attending a lecture at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, which I know isn't a promising start, but stay with me. The lecture is being given by one Professor Richard Dawkins. It was part of a series of talks organised by the University of Liverpool on the subject of arts and sciences and began with Jonathan Miller and will end with Robert Winston and Willy Russell.

Dawkins offered what seemed like a well rehearsed discussion of the issues surrounding his book The God Delusion. He originally gave the talk in February (which you can see here) and it was so oversubscribed it had to be moved to the city’s premiere classical music venue, from the random lecture theatre which had been scene for Miller's tale. It also had to be repeated and I was there for his second visit. The first was actually picketed by creationists with placards! This time, the protesters had got wise and applied for tickets and so after we’d enjoyed the talk it become all too apparent, all too quickly, that the closing Q&A was going to consist of the Professor being harassed by people who both didn’t agree with his approach to religion and plainly hadn’t listened to the talk, with pre-determined questions written on cards.

A couple of priests had already walked out in fact and the general feeling in the hall was that we were going to be in for a long half hour. Being a good follower of the faith, and realising this might be the only time I’d ever have a chance to talk to the other man who married Lalla Ward, I knew that I had to ask a question. But which one? I there had been something in his speech which I’d want a follow-up on (related to a quote he'd used from Douglas Adams) but I also realised there were going to be enough of those and as you’ve probably guessed by now I never do anything normal, or at least that’s what my parents always tell me. I like to think of it as never being what people expect me to be like, which is also true, and probably much the same thing.

When I stood up, I still didn’t know what my question would be. As I shuffled along the aisle stepping on people’s toes I had an inkling, but by the time I was queuing up behind the microphone, which had been set up by the stage, it was fixed in my mind. The short haired man standing in front of me, wearing a dark-blue ski jacket, was holding a card on which I could see words scrawled in both pencil and pen in even worse handwriting than my own. I stood with my arms crossed and knees shaking and I suspect knowing that he’d want some more time, he moved out of the way and let me go first.

I stepped up the microphone. The Professor was looking over his glasses towards me. He greeted me.
“Hello Professor Dawkins.” I said brightly. “Very pleased to meet you.”
He looked at me expectantly, or with the fear in his eyes, I was too nervous to tell.
“I understand that you filmed a scene for the latest series of Doctor Who…”
I paused and became slightly tongue tied as I realised that the sold out crowd of the Philharmonic Hall, some nine hundred people, were all looking at the back of my sweaty neck as I asked the great Professor Dawkins, a man whose CV took ten minutes to read out at the beginning of the evening, a question about Doctor Who.
“… and erm … I was wondering how you enjoyed the experience!?!”
There was random and sporadic laughter from the audience. Dawkins grinned. I relaxed a little but continued sweating.
“Well” he said cheerfully, “Perhaps I should explain that my wife Lalla played the Doctor’s assistant in the 1970s and though I didn’t watch her at the time I’ve been catching up through the dvds. I’ve always had a great affection for the series anyway so I was very pleased when they asked me. It was only a small part, I was being interviewed by a Jeremy Paxman-type of character and I can still completely remember my lines of dialogue …”
Then he paused. And dried. The audience laughed again.
“Well it was something like ‘We're living in a whole new universe were different laws apply…’ ”
There was an audible gasp from some parts of the audience. Had I somehow inadvertently got Richard Dawkins to give out a massive spoiler about what happens at the end of the series this early into the run? I turned around and there were definitely a couple of shocked faces. I hadn’t meant to. Bugger. I nearly stamped my foot.

“Thank you.” I said and stepped away from the microphone and sheepishly made my way back to my seat, absorbing as best I could some of the dirty looks I was getting along the way, having turned the crowd against me. "It wasn't me, it was Dawkins!" I wanted to shout but thought better of it. The man who’d been standing behind me was up next and he’d already begun to ask Dawkins for an opinion on how monkeys could evolve into humans and how shared ancestory can work if there are stil chimps and humans on the planet (Dawkins’s reaction: “ARE YOU BEING SERIOUS?”).

As I sat down, a girl nearby said “Good question…” and winked. Was she thinking what I was thinking? That the loss of the Adapose planet had to be related? Probably not, since as I'm sure you guessed last week, I really don't understand women. Dawkins would only have spoiled one aspect of the episode if he'd remembered everything he'd said and so my story doesn't really have a proper ending, which is just how things are in the unfolding text of real life. Ironically, he was also upstaged by Paul O'Grady and his braying audience offering exactly the kind of reaction one would expect from them in the event of a global catastrophe.

In an episode where what should be major elements, such as the death of Harriet Jones, became incidental, there’s little point in me going over the minutiae any more, other than to say that Billie really got her mojo back and Graham Harper's the Spielberg of the franchise. I’ve already seen criticism of the Call The Doctor solution (and yes, I’ve tried calling the number too with no luck), the fact that actually not very much happens in the episode other than the Dalek invasion which means it drags horribly in the middle, the timelord and Donna spend most of the episode in the TARDIS and that at the conclusion, all the Rose reunion amounted to was some cheesy showboating.

Everyone’s entitled to an opinion but on this occasion they’re wrong. The Stolen Earth was Doctor Who at its most epic and the opening salvo of Russell T Davies’s valedictory lap, and frankly beyond criticism, at least in fan terms. If this week’s anything to go by, next week is going to be one of the most bonkers hours of television this year, repaying fans for their four to forty-five years of support and hopefully giving Catherine Tate, slightly sidelined here, her final moment of Doctor Who acting glory. For all we know, it’ll be revealed that Donna was adopted, has always carried a fobwatch around with her that Grandad Cribbins gave her one Christmas which he found on the doorstep with her as a baby and those non-diagetic heartbeats are the first sign of the cockerney regaining her timelord senses before regenerating into River Song.

Next Week: God only knows. Or failing that, Russell T Davies. At this point it’s difficult to tell the difference.

Bloglines is down temporarily. We will be back shortly.

What happened to the plumber? Was he fired?

Film There’s a certain redundancy about the Leonardo Di Caprio produced environmental polemic The 11th Hour in that all of the messages were already communicated by Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth and far more coherently. Indeed, many of the same charts even appear in this film, rather smaller, better animated and on screen for a seconds and though the message, that the world is broken unless we can convince our leaders to do something about it, for some reason this barrage of scientists make a less convincing case than the a former next President of the United States. The overall impression is of Adam Curtis (The Power of Nightmares) remaking a Godfrey Reggio film (Koyaanisqatsi) interspersing the shots of landscapes and cities and death with vignettes from Richard Linklater’s Waking Life before the animation was applied.

Unlike the Gore film, there’s no respite from the statistics and shouting, as face after face, archive clip on archive clip shuffle through, rarely giving the viewer a chance to take stock before some other apocalyptic vision is introduced. The previous slide show was paced by pertinent dips into Al’s biography, explaining why the environmental cause is important to him and so how it should be important to us. Here, the only relief is in some scenic pieces to camera by Leo himself standing on the edge of what looks like the Grand Canyon, doubtless attempting to use his star power to attract those who might otherwise be disaffected. But there’s little levity and though the film ends on a positive note, with contributions from companies apparently winning the environmental fight the overall impression is that Big Oil will win in the end. That doesn't seem fair does it?