Do not watch this. You will not survive.

Meme Those of us old enough to remember the apocalyptic fallout from the hamster dance still live with the mental scars from the days that followed, the fires, the looting, the broken homes. But we pulled together, even when Crazy Frog threatened to return us to the dark days. Now a new menace is upon us and it seems only fair to offer a warning. Do not watch this. You will not survive. We will not survive.

Just horrible.

these kinds of stories

People Aah, it's The Guardian's annual interview with Alexa Chung. Last year, Laura Barton talked to her about her new show Vanity Lair (which was on the old, not quite so youfful version of BBC Three). This time, it's with Jess Cartner-Morley on photography and modelling:
Chung would like to move to the other side of the lens, as a reportage photographer. She has a photograph in an exhibition soon, and though she is smart enough to realise that "at the moment people are interested mainly because of who I am", she is hoping to move beyond that. "I'm interested in aesthetics, in the way things look, in finding something in an image that maybe people haven't seen."
This is a good fun piece of writing, with a nice pay-off. But like the previous interview, there's still no escaping the similarity (that I noted last time) with The Guardian's own parody of these kinds of stories, published in 2002, which deconstructed the formula so accurately that I'm sure there are still people who thought Harmony Cousins existed.

Another Spotify recommendation.

Documentary Another Spotify recommendation.

I Can Here It Now: The Sixties is an audio documentary offering radio coverage of key news events in the US from across the decade narrated by Walter Chronkite. From the JFK to the moon landings, it's all here and captured in a way which could induce nostalgia even if you weren't born yet.

Thank goodness for the Acorn Electron.

Games "What were arcades like?" Just another reminder that I'm thirty-five at the close of October. For me, arcades were expensive places, where the really 'cool' games like Hard Drivin' (!) were too expensive to play with my pocket money so I'd be feed the odd ten pence into knock-off Centipede machines. Thank goodness for the Acorn Electron.

When I visited Blackpool last year, I was pleased to discover that not only were the arcades still there, but with most of the same coin-ops huddling together waiting for retirement, admittedly in various states of disrepair. It's one thing to be able to attempt to get the second stage of Outrun as many times as you like through an emulator, but quite another to sit in the original hydrolic car, the wind and sand from the promenade blowing through your hair.

The Spotify Playlist

Language School

When I was studying World Music and taking an interest, one of the more annoying elements which kept cropping up was that in order for many of these artists to gain an international following they had to record in English and reconfigure their sound into something rather more generic to appeal to a wider market.

Since then, I've discovered that the phenomena actually runs the other way, and that scores of artists have rerecorded ostensibly English songs in a range of other languages and that's what you'll find in this playlist. The tracks are split into roughly two categories -- Eurovision successes presented in a form which crosses borders and the Japanese market.

I actually probably prefer this version of Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend though I wish they'd had the conviction to carry it on through the verses. The gold star and a day trip to Calais goes to Nat King Cole and the Multilingual version of L-O-V-E,which he recorded in the range of languages. Like the man says: "And always drive carefully, try and take care of yourselves, think good, feel good ..."



Train Horn

Created by Train Horn

Yes! I'm old!

am I reading too much into this?

TV Here's Ricky Gervais on The Daily Show. I just wanted to ask you something about his performance in the interview or one part of it:

In case you can't be arsed sitting through it, he's basically playing the arsehole version of himself that he used to do on The 11 o'clock Show on Channel 4. At least I hope he is. And here's a transcript of the bit I want to talk about. Gervais is describing reality television and then the culture of celebrities revealing their problems:
"The new one is depression. 'Oh yeah, I'm bi-polar, I suffer from depression'. And it's always overprivileged performers. You don't see like blue collar workers, people on minimum wage (doing it). Imagine what they're reading about, 'look at this poor millionaire comedian who feels alienated. It's like shut the fuck up. Jesus."
My question: is he joking about the problems of the 'millionaire comedian' I'm think of? And are you outraged too? Does that make you like Ricky Gervais just that little bit less? Or am I reading too much into this?

clever conflation

Advertising The Sony Bravia Zoetrope is a clever conflation of the history of film technology, and also holds the world record for being the largest device of its kind.


Music The title for Tori Amos's new album will be: "Abnormally Attracted to Sin". Aren't we all? [via]

the coming depression

Film Samuel L Jackson has signed with Marvel Films to play Nick Fury in nine different films. Good for him -- promise of work over the next few years with probably enough space to go off and do some independent projects too. I'm beginning to wonder if the coming depression will lead to a return of something like the old studio contracts were an actor signs deals to work on a set number of movies rather than on a project by project basis, offering some job security.

my ability to remember names

Science The news that there's a long hours link to dementia risk explains lots of things. Lately, I have been experiencing issues with my short term memory and my ability to remember names. Everything seems to be on the tip of my tongue and sometimes my sentences have resembled the epics which Ross endures on FRIENDS were I'm grasping for that ... name ... or ... word, often turning into a human thesaurus as various synonyms scatter about until I sometimes get the phrase I'm searching for.

I'd originally put this down to ageing(even though I'm 'only' 34) but in the various articles I've seen about this, the descriptions of what constitutes 'work' have been fairly nebulous. Some of us, probably, engage in work-like activities, such as sitting in front of a computer screen for long stretches, reading and writing and even though there's music in background perhaps and snacks, I'm not sure that our bodies can instinctively tell the difference. Worrying and probably and indication that some of us need to get out even more.

we've all been there -- haven't we!?!

TV As you might have gathered, I'm currently in the process of rewatching FRIENDS. I'm about four episodes shy of the end of the third season and it's going fairly well, though just as I remember the quality of the writing is varying wildly between utter genius and utter crap as are some of the performances. I'm going to write something much longer about this when I'm done, but for now here's a list of cameos the cast made in other sitcoms and such, when their collective network NBC became very interested in that kind of thing (The One with the Blackout from the first season was part of night were the lights went out on a range of different sitcoms):

Chandler in Caroline In The City:

Caroline was broadcast in a double with FRIENDS for a while and Channel 4 made a big thing about this cameo at the time; it's good though it feels more like a scene from FRIENDS than the other way around despite the painting. And music. You can certainly tell which of these shows was in ascendency. Perry has a tendency to overplay things how and then on his own show, but this works well for what it is.

Ross on The Single Guy

The Single Guy didn't make it to the UK (as far as I can tell) so this is a rare treat. It's embedded later in this video at 2.25, after the aforementioned Caroline In The City related scenes. Hilarious stuff even if it hangs on one of contemporary sitcom's more frequent stand-by plotlines (we've all been there -- haven't we!?!). Rather more than a cameo, this sees Ross essentially taking over, with (even allowing for some edits) the lead character disappearing for long stretches. There are some classic Schwimmer expressions in here, particular when he spots the photograph.

Phoebe in Hope & Gloria:

No clip that I can find, just this 'synopsis'. Hope & Gloria was a two season wonder which the BBC picked up and ran in daytime in the mid-nineties. Jessica Lundy & Cynthia Stevenson played friends worked on a local tv talk show. It was a good if slightly middle of the road show, mostly carried by Lundy and Stevenson's performances, and in one episode they decided to visit New York for no particular reason other than needing a holiday and happened upon Central Perk and Pheobe who assailed them with some random weirdness, related to counting. I have no idea. Saw it once, mostly through a fog of looking for blank video, but it was gone before I could do anything about it.

Chandler and Rachel discover Windows 95.:

Or Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston want us to hate them. Their names might be on this video but their essentially playing variants of their FRIENDS characters, and unfunny annoyingly shot didactic versions at that. "So this is where the magic happens, huh, ground zero of personal computing?" Yes, a data apocalypse just waiting to happen. And the Wenus and Anus are clearly out of control.

Finally, here's Kramer from Seinfeld appearing in Mad About You which has nothing to do with FRIENDS but is funny nonetheless.

of which this isn't one of them

Music BuzzFeed have posted their favourites. I like to think this one has a cool old English folk vibe.

embarrass her

Journalism I hope this doesn't embarrass her (or you since I know you're reading), but Alison Gow's post about her year of blogging includes some of the best writing I've ever seen on the subject of what it means to be a journalist in digital age, especially in the section about this month. If only all writers felt that way.

breezily speculated

Music Remember when I breezily speculated that if Spotify ever went portable it could kill the mp3 industry?


Recent iPhone adverts have been trumpeting a Last.FM application but this is bigger since rather than simply recommending things and making it rather difficult for you to listen to a whole album, the functionality is essentially iTunes but you don't own the music because you don't have to. It won't be that easy of course. As Wired suggest in the linked article, Apple could block the application, and it all depends on the cost of an internet connection.

But prices are coming down and when Spotify leaves beta, it would be a smart move to ally itself with mobile phone companies who'd be pleased to add their functionality to the range of stuff their technology can already do. Imagine a Spotify branded phone in a lovely green box on the shelf in Carphone Warehouse, with as part of the contract, an ad-free subscription deal that covers their desktop application and their mobile.

Get Friends' Facebook Status Updates In Your Twitter Feed

Twitter This is amazingly inventive and it works:

Get Friends' Facebook Status Updates In Your Twitter Feed.

Uses a Twitter account with secure updates and Twitterfeed.


Music Last.FM responds properly to the Tech Crunch allegation about them handing over user data to the RIAA. Take a look at the headline to their blog post. When was the last time you saw something that special on a corporate website?

So, how did we (meaning I) do at the Oscars?

Film So, how did we (meaning I) do at the Oscars?

My predictions.

I was correct about everything except:

Best Actor -- which surprised everyone, I think, going to Sean Penn.

Original Screenplay -- again, Milk instead of In Bruges.

Adapted Screenplay -- went to Slumdog instead of Frost/Nixon (which was the big loser of the night)

Foreign Language -- though that was a wild guess anyway

Art Direction -- Benjamin Button instead of Batman

Cinematography -- Slumdog instead of Batman

Original Score -- I thought the awards would be spread around again this year, but Button and Slumdog cleaned up. Which is why ...

Best Make-Up -- Benjamin Button, there for proving my point that "the academy voters hardly ever vote for something which looks obviously like make up unless it's to make a human younger or older."

11/19 or 57% so C+ (not including the Short feature categories). Which isn't bad considering I shamefully haven't seen most of the films.

As for myself, despite my general feelings about the award ceremonies, I had planned to stay up and enjoy the ceremony through someone's liveblog and Twitter (not having Sky) but as the red carpet got under way, the depressing prospect of absorbing everything through the comments of people watching the television broadcast was too depressing, like standing outside a football stadium and trying to work out what's happening in the game through hearing the cheers. Sad.

So I slept (which probably did me more good in the long run), woke up early and read Xan Brooks's recap instead along with a glance now and then at YouTube (before the clips were pulled down). I'm very pleased Penelope Cruz has finally been recognised and she managed charmingly to keep it together; she said beforehand that she always had a speech prepared and sure enough, this was a proper, well prepared note which thanked not just the people on this film but the likes of Almodovar too.

But I suspect the night will probably be remembered historically for this:

One of the few occasions that a burst of music is appropriate and inappropriate both at the same time.

Everything you imagine is real.

the writer unrewarded

the writer unrewarded, originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

breadth of love's reach

breadth of love's reach, originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

MetaFilter: Wikipedia Names Your Band.
The fifty random album lucky dip bags from Vinyl Exchange in Manchester are filled with releases just like this (see above).

Life, Doctor Who & Combom: Steven Moffats letter read by Paul Cornell @ Gallifrey One 2009
"If anyone asks I'm honestly not being a snob because I've gone all showrunner..."

GreenCine Daily: The New Depression Cinema
I'm always amazed when some critics and business analysts trumpet the idea that the Hollywood system doesn't exist any more; though that's theoretically the case, as the article demonstrates, the production line mentality still exists. Films are still developed around genres and stars even if the genre is mumblecore or the star is Ellen Page -- they have to be for marketing purposes and especially now that the audience is so fragmented. The problem these days is that whereas in the 30s, cinema was still developing and innovation was still happening even in the likes of quota quickies, processes have stagnated and cliches abound even in what purports to be independent cinema. It's amazing that anything of worth is still being produced.

World's Shortest Escalator
There's a similar one at the Arndale Centre in Manchester, if just slightly longer. I didn't know you could buy them made to measure. Also, I seem to have Manchester on my mind a lot today.