cold dead pair of eyes

Excerpts from the depositions of Madeleine Peyroux
Dance me to the end of love. The things you find on YouTube. More here. Has this been seen anywhere else?

Meanwhile, Natalie Imbruglia is still single.

On “The Time of My Life”
Following on from yesterday, here's a US review of one of the best Doctor Who Magazine comic strips of recent times, which was just as heartbreaking as the actual television programme's final minutes and indeed might have been as good an ending there too. I love this piece in particular because it's someone essentially discovering the magnificence of the DWM strip for the first time.

Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart
Never mind the winking, didn't she have a cold dead pair of eyes? They reminded me the buttons which masqueraded as such in these leprechauns -- at no point was I convinced she really believed anything she was saying.

Street Hello Love: Please, Join Me In a Revolution People!
I love the concept, but the execution, especially around these parts, um no. But if only it was possible.

Prank Calls: Robin Cooper
From the writer of The Time Waster Letters.

Is it Meta or is It Crazy?
I wonder if this ever happened to Alanis Morissette.

Rain Man rising above the erotic
Just because -- that headline, really? "I'm not wearing any underwear. I'm definitely not wearing any underwear."

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist Strikes Sweet Chord
The trailer's too long which is never a great sign and the article's comparison with Dazed and Confused is misguided, but this looks like it could be a fairly decent teen rom-com in the tradition of Loser and Mystery Date. That's a good thing by the way.

Writers' rooms: Jonathan Bate
Editor of the RSC's Complete Works has a play about Shakespeare in the works.

The Moon that went up a Hill but came down a planet
"Every now and again I get an email from someone who tries to tell me that the moon orbits the Sun more than it orbits the Earth..."

badgering Davies

Books There have been few books greeted with so much anticipation in Doctor Who fan circles than The Writer’s Tale. A record of Russell T Davies’s email correspondence with friend and journalist Benjamin Cook during the writing and production of the fourth season of the revived series, it was rumoured that for the first time we, the royal ‘we’ meaning ‘we’ fans as opposed to the ‘not we’ meaning everyone else, would hear the gossip and secrets that under normal circumstances don’t come to light until years later during bitter interchanges in Doctor Who Magazine (more commonly DWM) when half the people involved are dead. Now that it has finally been published, none of us have truly been prepared for how honest and apparently uncensored the book is, and though much swearing and scandal have apparently been removed (presumably for legal reasons) at times it’s as though the reader has hacked into the writer/producer’s email account and is working their way through Davies’s ‘sent items’. It goes without saying that if you’re fan of the new series, it may be quite some time before we’re treated to such a detailed account of production, barring the DWM Special by historian Andrew Pixley.

I’d argue however that non-fans or people who simply watch the show on broadcast will find this equally entertaining, since away from the fannish trivia and scripting anecdotes it’s also a fractured biography of a very complex individual which explains why he’s walking away from his dream job at the end of next year. It seems to be killing him. Russell T Davies is arguably the most prominent producer and writer in the series history, and in an age when backstage creatives are often as famous as those who appear on screen, Davies is as likely to be interviewed just before a new series as the stars. The impression the viewer gets from his publicity appearances is of a bouncy extrovert with bags of energy, always smiling and that’s backed up by his contributions to the making of tv series Doctor Who Confidential and monthly column in DWM. Though the book doesn’t contradict that view, it fleshes out his personality, showing that even though in public he’s forever making grandiose claims about being a screenwriter who knows what he’s doing, in private like every writer he’s wracked with unsurety about his craft and abilities, never feeling as though he’s got things quite right, or that he’s got enough time.

He’s similar to 70s script editor Douglas Adams (who was writing Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the same time) in that respect – forever in here, Davies frets about deadlines, often letting them whoosh past him to the point that often what’s being filmed is, if not quite a first draft (he’s forever polishing), certainly something which is into the computer one day and at a script reading the next. There are times when he admits he simply can’t get a plot point straight even as the episode enters production even to the point of being phoned from the set by the director asking for guidance on how to interpret what’s been written. It’s that brutal frankness which is endearing but also potentially frustrating because his work is potentially suffering because despite his big ideas, he's constantly interrupted by of all of the other things he has to do each day; in one entry he describes a typical twenty-four hours and the list is frightening. It’s these longer entries which are the real draw for the ‘not we’, as celebrity gossip (Kylie! Catherine! Billie!) and writing mechanics give way to confessionals on how the process of publicity and the circus that surrounds the series is exasperating him and the more negative aspects of his persona come to the fore, snapping at friends, autopilot at launch parties, walking around Cardiff bay in the middle of the night wondering how he’s going to get the work done.

Which is why Ben Cook’s contribution shouldn’t be overlooked. He’s the reader’s way into Davies’s life, like the Doctor exploring an alien world, somehow managing to ask just the right questions to trigger a revelation or anecdote. They’ve clearly already built a friendship and rapport in the preceding few years (or longer – Doctor Who fans have their inner circle just like any sub-culture), so the writer is already relaxed, but there are times when Cook is almost badgering Davies until he explains himself properly on a given topic. It helps that they both have the same field of reference – you couldn’t imagine another journalist to get Davies to write so candidly (in a chapter called ‘Bastards’ – and this in a book about a family series!) about helping other members of the production team come to terms with the online fan reaction to their work (offering sympathy to them on the phone for hours) whilst at the same time noticing his own thoughtlessness in relation to dumping the script of an old friend even though they’d been working on it for a year, agonising over what that says about him.

At just over five hundred pages this might seem like a intimidating read, but large sections are filled with first drafts and revisions of three of his episodes as well as pertinent photographs, publicity shots and candids sometimes showing the programme makers at play. It’s well designed by former DWM editor Clayton Hickman, text even punctuated here and there by Davies’s own comic illustrations of rejected story ideas and moments from life. It’s not all Davies either; exchanges with the likes of designers and incoming producer Steven Moffat are included too as they desperately try not to tell each other too much about their stories whilst simultaneously making sure their not repeating themselves. You’ll notice that I’ve not talked much about the content of the book and that’s quite deliberate. The Writer’s Tale is best savoured with all of the surprises intact, the casting replacements, the changes in story and who said what to whom about what and whom and when. In other words, no spoilers. The book does climax with some hints of what’s to come in the upcoming Christmas special and like the best stories there is a surprise ending.

But like I said, no spoilers.

[The book has its own marvellous website, which includes extracts as well as .pdfs of all of the scripts written by Davies.]

Review 2008: "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself (or You) a Letter"

Dear Readers,

Hope you’re well and that you’re getting the correct weather for the time of year. These days, that kind of thing isn’t certain, but there were hale stones this evening in town and given the proximity to the festive season, that seems just right.

Which is also why I’m writing to you. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that each December I have a kind of review of the year. I say kind of, because as time has gone on, these “reviews” have had less and less to do with the preceding eleven months, and more variations on a theme.

Last year, we wrote about our home towns and the year before that I answered a range of burning questions. I try to make it so that every other year I write everything, and in the others you do. Well, it’s my turn this year though I’m going to need your help. Again.

This year I want to write some open letters, the twist being that you’re hopefully going to choose who I’m going to write them to and perhaps the subject. These can be as light weight or personal as you want and it could be to yourself or someone you know or someone famous or historic or – well you can use your imagination. If you can’t think of a topic I’ll pick one of my own.

I know this is early, but if John Lewis or Marks & Sparks can have their decorations and gifts on sale already, it’s probably a good idea to have a head start. You’ll be unsurprised to hear I’ve started my present buying too, though that was in the January sales so I’m not sure that counts.

Anyway, have a think about it and if you have any ideas, do email at or leave a comment.

Take care,


PS And don’t forget, if you have a blog or some other website, leave a link so I can send some of my meagre traffic in your direction.
Music Local(ish) boy Rick Astley is up for Best Act Ever at the Mtv Europe Awards. Vote once, vote often, for Astley:

some of whom have personalities

Opening Times
Nice idea. One stop shop for finding out if your local chain supermarket/warehouse of goodies is open at the stupid, bizarre, inhuman hours when you want to shop. And where they are.

Chartblog reviews Sugababes - 'Girls'
Gentle evisceration of what could be the worst single from the threesome so far. I''m disappointed too.

Daily Mail publisher to inoculate staff against bird flu
Somehow I can only imagine the Daily Mail speeding some mileage out of this.

I'm a sex worker – don't take away my livelihood
"I am an off-street sex worker. I don't live a Belle de Jour-type existence, but nor am I the trafficked/drug-addled/pimped victim the Big Brothel report would have you believe. The reality of my working life lies somewhere between the two."

Meanwhile, Belle is mentioning Understanding Organizations by Charles Handy ...
... which I spent a whole week reading in 1993 before going undergraduate. What I'm sure he forgot to mention was that organisations fundamentally don't work because their are people involved, some of whom have personalities.

So do you reckon it will rain today?
It did. Buckets and buckets.

Camp Rock? You're Not Kidding...
Much as I hate it when reviewers provide a synopsis instead of an opinion, sometimes it's just necessary.

"How do we tell this from everybody’s side?"
I might have mis-read this, and I've reread that section a couple of times, but Neil LeBute seems to be under the impression that Sam Jackson not Denzel was in Training Day.

15-Minute Tomato Sauce. Really.
Yes, really.

'De-gendered' toilets spark row
My old university, everyone. I think this may be my favourite two minutes of local tv news ever -- it's just a hairsbreadth away from being a Christopher Guest parody. Imagine welfare officer Jennie Killip played by Parker Posey: "I was just quoting you."

When Hardeep Met Les
Just in case you haven't heard this already. It is excruciating and proves that no matter how fluffy you think the interview is going to be, you have to do at least some research and not assume the interviewee will play ball if they suspect you're a moron. I'm surprised Hardeep gives his so long. I think the turning point is when ... oh you'll hear for yourself ...

Charles Platt on Akihabara, the Week Before the Massacre
This is the kind of thing which BoingBoing does so well; it's in the middle of being a Wired piece put has aspects of the kind of tableau you'd find in National Geographic. Given my tirade about fashion the other day, wouldn't this be more fun? The British equivalent would probably to go out dress as Arthur Dent (ie, in a dressing gown and pyjamas) and not have a convention to go to.

Beyond the Trouble, More Trouble
Elizabeth Wurtzel on David Wallace. They were the best of friends.

Wendy and Lisa prepare 'Heroes' score album
Watched the opening double bill tonight and thank goodness it's back on form. I won't spoil the second episode in case you missed it, but Kring & co have certainly got their mojo back. There are revelations in there which, even if they weren't planned ahead, show that their inspiration is working overtime, and the results are rather more exciting than the 'virus on the loose' plot which, according to the season two dvd box set, was originally planned before the writer's strike curtailed the last series. I just wish it was goofier, just now and then.

Model Sanctuary opens again at London Fashion Week
It's a safe house for catwalkers.

Another city, another event, another night alone in another hotel.
This is exactly what it's like being alone in a hotel in strange place. My approach is to simply be there as little as possible. I think those Japanese bed capsules would be perfect for me.

Products Placed: How Companies Pay Artists to Include Brands in Lyrics
"oh lord, won't you buy me a ...."

Exclusive: William Kristol Is Having Trouble Writing His Next Column About Sarah Palin
Gosh some of these articles are old -- but I'm still catching up with my reading after the great reorganisation. Along with Russell T Davies's The Writer's Tale (more on which some other time) this demonstrates that when things like this happen, it's not because I'm rubbish, it's just that sometimes it doesn't happen. Personally, I think the best criticism Kristol could offer, if that's his motive, would be to publish this as it stands, perhaps cutting back on the swearing depending on the journal's policy.

A little something to remind me…
Landmark confusion.

Immendorff: copies, fakes or authorised reproductions?
It's worth asking on the basis of this, what makes a great artist. The work or his life?

In Conversation: Woody Allen
I feel like I've linked to this piece before. I haven't have I? Either way it's about the director's love for New York to celebrate New York Magazine's 40th Birthday and somehow manages to drag up some insights I've never heard before. What he says about the overall degradation of cultural expectation is true and I think suggests why some of his later work has been under appreciated -- audiences are far less forgiving in some ways these days, but undiscerning in others.

Frida Kahlo @ Who Killed Bambi
Oh deer...

Sun sets on 'House That Ruth Built'
Yankee Stadium closes. What is happening to the world? This is.

Life Props: Odeon London Road

Odeon London Road closes.

The Odeon London Road closed last night because a new multiplex has been added to the Liverpool One development and for obvious reasons the chain didn't want to have two cinemas operating in the town. Originally opened in the 1930s as the Paramount and converted to five screens in the seventies by Oscar Deutsch's group, this was the last of the original big picture houses in the city. Tragically the building is to be demolished to make way for "a Tesco or a hotel or something" according to the box office clerk when I popped in last week to check. Though that is understandable -- a cinema has such a specific utility it's not easy to simply convert it to another purpose and perhaps it's best that than what's happened to the Odeon on Oxford Road in Manchester, a ghostly shell which stands abandoned. Oscar Deutsch entertains our nation. Except in Liverpool, he'll be doing it somewhere else.

Last time I visited was for Ocean's 13, a couple of years ago. The projection was horrible, the sound poor, the print quality dreadful. Someone sat that the back of the screen chatting on their mobile phone throughout. It was refurbished in the late nineties and split into ten screens, the art deco exterior replaced with the somehow already dated branding that's there now. Five largish screens split into a array of tiny ones, with screen ten offering a picture the size of an average plasma screen. It lost some its soul, the maroon walls and orange lighting replaced with cobalt blue walls. Comfier seating perhaps, but now it was a proper multiplex and though the new tagline bleated that Odeon were 'fanatical about film', this seemed like a factory for the things, a production line of presentation which seemed to also coincide with start of the drift downwards of the behaviour of the audiences.

Still, as I stood on London Road today watching a chippy boarding up the windows, I couldn't help but feel nostalgic. For ages, this was my cinema. True the ABC Lime Street had the wrap around screen experience and 051 at the bottom of Mount Pleasant showed 'proper films' (art house), but if I was in town, or had just finished work and needed a quick fix of cinema, this Odeon was just across the road, and I'd be there all night. Glancing across at my dvd collection, I'm amazed at the sheer number of films I experienced first here, from The Lion King to Rushmore via The English Patient, and bunch of others not released by Disney or a subsidiary. Even at school, I'd install myself there with my friend Tris on a Sunday afternoon in front of whatever film was on -- one week Father of the Bride 2 another Seven and spend the next hour talking about what we'd seen. This is where I saw Groundhog Day, on the night that I finished school. I usually tell people that it was the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds that really sparked my interest in film. On reflection, it was probably here.

Updated 20/4/2011 The building has now been demolished.

The Last Sontaran (Part One)

MONDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2008 21:16:57

TV  The economy’s really broken this time isn’t it? It’s pretty difficult to write anything when everything is drifting into the shitter. Usual mudslinging between the Democrats and Republicans as to who did what to who and why, though Barack gave a wonderful speech afterwards, finally going to McCain’s jugular. More please.

I promised to write you as soon as each episode is aired and here we are. This one’s torture. I didn’t enjoy the episode as much as would have like to, which as you know is my kryptonite (well that and when its written by Steven Moffat). I think that since my personal midnight deadline is hoaving into view I’m best self-indulgently showing my working out.

I began by trying to put this new series of The Sarah Jane Adventures into context. I also wanted to work the title in using a similar style to last year’s reviews:

Is it possible to get Doctor Who fatigue and do I have it? I’ve asked this question before and it’s a horrible one especially for those of us who remember when the show was a laughing stock (© every bloody stand up comic who’s seen the candyman) and worse than that when the most we could hope for was a rolled up copy of Doctor Who Magazine and a novelisation. But sometimes, it’s true, I wonder if there’s simply too much of the stuff these days.

Too many novels, audio, dvds and television shows, too many action figures (no matter how cool it is to see Mr. Sin nestled next to a Slitheen in Forbidden Planet) and related tat. I buy the dvds religiously and the odd Big Finish story and of course read the novels so I can’t imagine what it must be like for those who buy everything, because those people must exist. We’ve already had to sit through Torchwood and genuinely enjoyed the fourth series of Doctor Who and now we’re faced with a whole series of …

The Sarah Jane Adventures

and you wonder if you can take it, if you can have too much of a good thing. And then you remember that the first story is called …

The Last Sontaran

… you just have to watch …

Part One

... at least, don’t you?

Yes, you do. I still don't understand the argument 'SJA's for kids so I won't be watching' which doesn't make much sense and hope fully this sequel will get them interested. I think the opening works perfectly well. There is a hell of a lot of new material around and though it has nothing to do with the episode, despite the main show not being on air it is going to be a momentous time for the blog. Editor Damon emailed us reviewers a list of what’s ahead and if you include the BBC7 series, there’s almost as much new Who coming up as you’d expect to find in the 70s – and that’s having already seen twenty-six episodes set in the same universe already this year. Now I realise I need to actually say whether I liked the episode or not. So next line:

I was a bit bored, to be honest.

If that seems unduly harsh, all things considered, I originally wrote:

God, I was bored.

Which is even more brutal. The Dow’s down 700 points. Fuck. When I started talking about this on Twitter earlier, someone said that there’d still be money if all the banks fail, we’ll have feudalism. Yeah, great. Twitter’s great. The MarsRover has just said that it’s snowing on Mars. So it’s not all bad. Anyway, having drowned everyone with that surprise, I knew I had to be a bit conciliatory. But only a bit:

Oh don’t get me wrong I know to some extent that it’s because my expectation of this series is capable of doing were raised by the best stories from last year, particularly Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane?. But between the predictable storytelling, stodgy exposition and disappointing characterisation it felt for all the world like the show some of us feared it had the capacity to be. And before you wonder, no this isn’t going to be a rerun of that trixy review of The Silence In The Library and I’m going to say suddenly, hooray, this was brilliant after all. F.A.B. R.T.D.! Nope.

I get really annoyed with myself when I write a line like that. As well as including the odd prop word, it refers back to something I’ve already written here, on the assumption that regular readers will get the reference. I try and justify it by saying it’s the blogging equivalent of mentioning an old storyline in drama, but really its desperation. I think it’s about here that I’m starting to get lost. And I've lost my sense of humour:

I know that part of this is to do with the downshift in complexity from the past series of the mother series, the return to a more simplistic running around on show here, so allied to ol’-Who in which the title more often than not provided a synopsis of the plot. There’s a wee bit more to this – the story being a direct sequel to the not universally liked Sontaran story from the previous season of the mother series – but subbing Sarah Jane and friends for a grey haired gent and his army pals and you’d pretty much have the first twenty-five minutes of a Pertwee story.

The difference is of course that whereas then, the brainwashed scientist would have been a government stooge, here he’s someone’s dad. Then, there would have been endless shots of Bessie flying through the countryside with cutaways to the Master asking all in sundry to obey him, whereas now we’re gripped by the angst of Maria, one of the best characters to hit the franchise, being shunted off to America and Luke stressing over Clyde disobeying Sarah Jane’s instructions not to venture into the forest (what is she his mother?).

I’ve already talked about this last year and also to an extent it’s stating the obvious. At this point I was desperately trying not to drift into synopsis; one of the problems I have with modern review is the tendency to simply tell the story of whatever’s under consideration when more often than not the reader is either thinking of going to see the thing in which case it’s being spoiled; on this occasion you’ve all seen it so what’s the point? Notice the length of the paragraphs so far. One of the other problems with the episode at least for this reviewer, is that there isn’t an awful lot to write about, especially since my imagination's on the blink too. Next, I try and explain what I didn’t like:

But the reveal of Maria’s expatriation simply lacked drama. Why disclose something like so early when we can spend the story or episode wondering why she’s being so sullen instead? I know that pre-broadcast spoilers, from Russell himself no less, explained why Yasmin Paige was only going to be in this first story, but considering what’s possible in the franchise, does the methodology have to be quite so perfunctory? Plus, the repartee between Clyde and Luke lacked zing, it wasn’t funny. It used to be funny, at least funnier than this. Sontarans look like potatoes. Huh-huh-huh.

What I don’t like about this is that its lacks something. It just seems relentlessly mean spirited and it’s not very specific, again because I don’t feel like there was much to say, I don’t really have an opinion. I’m getting desperate so I think I’ve decided to not like the episode much simply because to love it would to mean I’d have nowhere to go. So I say:

Phil Ford’s script simply didn’t swing. I think he was over compensating for the timeslot which is something I don’t remember happening last year. The Sontaran’s closing monologue seemed to go on forever, and though it was interesting to see Sarah’s reaction to discovering that in order to win the Doctor had to down a whole Sontaran brigade, and a mini-squee was necessary for the mention of the Rutans, there seemed to be a dramatic disconnect, despite the flashbacks. We’re back to watching the potential destruction of the planet based on data on a screen from a small room.

I don’t often like picking on individual writers, unless their surname is Chibnall, and over time it’s becoming apparent that in Cardiff, the name on the script doesn’t necessarily match the name of the person who wrote most of it. Plus, it looks like a large percentage of the episode budget was spent on the CG effects and I want to mention that but I can’t find anywhere to shoehorn it in. Now here’s the paragraph I always seem to end up writing, and I’m never happy with that either:

There were admittedly a few good lines (“But you’ve only just decorated.”) but if the episode worked at all it’s because of the regular elements. This is a great little cast and it’ll be a shame to see Yasmin go; like the best ensembles, even when the material isn’t all there, you’re simply happy to be watching them (see also season two of Heroes). This one was also very well directed by Joss Agnew, with lots of use of pov shots to create mystery and useful editing during the action sequences and the design worked to create depth with the facility having a perfect lived in look – this is very much a mom and pop facility.

The best reviews have an argument and some of mine do to. But I’m so desperate not to leave anything I did like out and for what I’m writing not to be so relentlessly negative that I throw a couple of the positives together in a block of text like this at the end. I should just stick to my guns, I know, and I’m seriously thinking of cutting this. Huh. They're saying that reason Sarah Palin's CBS interview was rubbish was because she was over prepared. I feel like that. I was so desperate here for my writing not to turn into a list, reduced to a flowery version of 'I liked the music' 'I didn't like the Sontaran' it has a tendency to become opinionless. At the end though I think I might win things back a bit:

In writing all this I feel like I’ve drowned someone’s kitten (especially after seeing the reaction at Outpost Gallifrey) and it could be that I have reached my Who limit and can’t see the fish for the chips (which should make watching The Trial of a Timelord boxset fun). This is only the opening episode though, and the first of the season, which as we’ve seen in The Writer’s Tale, is never an easy matter for a writer to get their head around. Now that everything’s been set up, next week’s episode could be a zinger, with much talk of probic vents and the kids using their random history homework to fight against the Sontaran. Let’s hope so.

At which point my inspiration truly imploded. We’ll not speak of this again.

Sometimes I wish I was a girl

Life I went clothes shopping today. I’m not particularly good at clothes. It’s like anything else – there’s a language to it, knowing what suites you, what the fashion is, what’s available, and unless you've studied, or immersed yourself ... I think I briefly understood for about two weeks in 1997 but soon lost it and now I tend to just wear a white t-shirt and jeans everywhere. To the point that if I wear anything else people notice. I know this isn’t a good thing by any stretch of the imagination, and there is a certain laziness involved, but it’s also because the very nice clothes always cost very nice prices and never really having had much money ever in life, I still baulk at the prices. I think it's genetic. Not even Hadley Freeman could convince me that £35 is a decent price for a jumper even though I know intellectually that everyone from the designer to the manufacturer to the people working in the shop and the shop’s landlord have to be paid.

Not having a clue what this season’s colour is, I decided it was blues and greens and bought long sleeve t-shirt and a light green jumper from department stores, plus ordered a grey jumper from M&S. I think they suite me. It’s that long since I have seen anything remotely like a colour on my torso I’m hazarding a guess that they do. They don't look horrible, which is a start. Walking about I tried to see what other men, my peers, were wearing and was placated by the fact that actually, none of them seemed to know what they were doing. Only now and then did anything seem to match, only now and then did I think – if only I had his style. Plus most people with my age and frame of mind would have been working in an office whilst I was out and about which means the comparisons I was making were generally with students who’re a whole decade younger than me and surely there’s a generational detachment?

It won’t end here. At the age of 34 (which I will be at the end of October) I should be more conscious of what I look like. Sometimes I wish I was a girl, if only because you seem to have a much bigger choice of what you can wear and in fact you can also wear man clothes if they suit you. With us its jeans or trousers, t-shirts or shirts, v-neck or crop and a jacket or coat. Perhaps a scarf. You can make yourselves look amazing even in winter. Glancing through the many shops I strolled through today, I saw clothes that I couldn’t imagine anyone wearing, with outrageous printing, jumpers with part of kind of fake t-shirt sewn around the neck hole and perfectly good jumper with fabric attachments added in places which will inevitably mean they'll be ripped off when passing a door handle. That's assuming they even fit my body shape, so closely does it mimic a brontosaurus. I'm probably incurable.

I live my life like an international rock star.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America.

I lead a charmed life, full of travel, a life dictated by and dedicated to travel, and it will be this way for the rest of my life.

Sweden is by far the worst: I've yet to encounter a hotel there with tea- and coffee making facilities and ironing gear in the hotel room - and I've stayed in quite a few hotels there.

I know a good number of folks from the great State of Alaska, and they are thinking about a recall.

Rachel McAdams is an actress who can generally get me to watch just about anything — even a Rob Schneider movie.

Usually, in my other movies, I was the transgressive woman and they were not the transgressive directors. They were filming a transgressive woman without being transgressive themselves.

This was not the fairy tale I vaguely recalled from my childhood - the one with the mother who gives up her child, the vindictive witch, the powerless girl trapped high above the ground.

Which is shameful.

Film Turns out I've seen 399 of the Empire 500. Here, largely for my own memory is the list of movies I haven't seen:

Jailhouse Rock
In The Company Of Men
Princess Mononoke
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
The Son's Room
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
Santa Sangre
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Into The Wild
Le Doulos
Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull
Dumb And Dumber
Electra Glide In Blue
Danger: Diabolik
The Enigma Of Kaspar Hauser
A Man Escaped
Lords Of Dogtown
Iron Man
Killer of Sheep
The Great Silence
Ace In The Hole
Army Of Darkness
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
The Return
The Lady Eve
Un Chien Andalou
Unfaithfully Yours
The Gold Rush
The Passenger
High And Low
The Green Mile
The Best Years Of Our Lives
Sawdust And Tinsel
The Palm Beach Story
The Red Balloon
La Maman Et La Putain
Rocco And His Brothers
On The Town
Carlito’s Way
My Neighbour Totoro
The Bird With The Crystal Plumage
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
The Death Of Mr. Lazarescu
A Place In The Sun
Das Boot
The Black Cat
Le Quai Des Brumes
First Blood
The Leopard
Howl’s Moving Castle
No Country For Old Men
Mother And Son
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Songs From The Second Floor
Army Of Shadows
The Misfits
The Killer
Bicycle Thieves
Paths Of Glory
The Big Country
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Canterbury Tale
The Year Of Living Dangerously
The Innocents
Blow Out
Cool Hand Luke
Los Olvidados
The Wages Of Fear
I Am Cuba
The Tree Of Wooden Clogs
A Man For All Seasons
Raising Arizona
Spirit Of The Beehive
Harold And Maude
Come And See
Evil Dead 2
Andrei Rublev

Before you say -- not I haven't seen Cool Hand Luke or Harold and Maude or On The Town. Which is shameful.