the what? Accolade?

Blog! Blogger's Blogs of Note is like the giant golden lottery hand of the blogosphere (and like the lottery one which is yet to point in my direction). Thousands of hits ensue. Blogger mayhem.

Most seem quite happy with the what? Accolade?

Yet since for some bloggers the process is about communicating to a small group of people in what amounts to some hidden enclave of the web, the last thing they really want is to be graced by several thousand people.

Yesterday, anonymous blogger The Tiny Leaf "a woman in flux, trying to discover who it is that I am" was visited upon by the Google god and her reaction was to delete her content and leave this short pithy notice

Good for her.

nimble fingers

Liverpool Life As promised, here's more on yesterday's Social Media Morning from the nimble fingers of Alistair Houghton of the Liverpool Daily PostDave Thackeray is less upbeat about the event, suggesting (I think) that it simply underlined that social media loses its soul when employed in the marketing process.

My attitude is somewhere in between.  For this consumer/potential customer, social media has meant that once monolithic institutions which were impossible to interact with have become as easily contactable as friends.  As with most things, the use of social media in marketing depends on who's doing it and how well.

The companies that miss the mark are those which are simply employing social media because they feel like they have to but don't really have the resources or drive to do it properly or most often whatever they're selling simply doesn't fit with that form of marketing.

The best examples tend to develop when the person at the keyboard has an obvious love for the product or service, which surprisingly isn't something easily faked at a hundred and forty characters. On a couple of occasions I've met such people in the real world and their passion is reflected there too.

book-related documentaries presented by personalities

TV Last year, the BBC ran a poetry season. This year, it's Books On The BBC:
"Highlights of Books On The BBC include: book-related documentaries presented by personalities such as Melvyn Bragg, Sue Perkins, Sebastian Faulks and Stephen Fry; coverage of the key moments in the literary year, from the Booker Prize and Samuel Johnson Prize to the newly inaugurated World Book Night on 5 March with an evening of BBC Two programming dedicated to the biggest ever book giveaway; debate and opinion with a new monthly book debate show as part of The Review Show on BBC Two; numerous Open Book specials on BBC Radio 4; and, on BBC One, Anne Robinson will host a two-week long investigation into the part books have played in the lives of well-known figures."
Theatre next year, surely?

the small HMV in the old gas show room will indeed be closing

Commerce After attending a Social Media Morning networking event at Liverpool Science Park at breakfast time ('See the digital age in a whole new light') (more on which later) (as you can see from this photo I've had my hair cut) (I'm the one in the green jumper) I walked down Bold Street with my friend Alistair (@wimpyking) and we noticed that as I predicted here the small HMV in the old gas show room will indeed be closing, very suddenly, on Sunday 30th.

There was a sign in the window outside explaining the closure, but inside it was business as usual.  With an extra shop in the city and still part of a relatively large chain, there's no need for a stock clearance, no massive sale.  Everything can be boxed up and shifted across town if necessary or returned to the supplier.  Not sure if the staff will simply be shuffled to the other store.  Seemed churlish to ask.

As I said last time, it would seem more logical for HMV to close their larger stores and consolidate into the smaller space, with smaller rents, essentially hibernate until the market changes, but it looks like they are going in the other direction.  We checked on the status of the Waterstones too.  Both the clerks stacking the shelves seemed convinced they would be staying open.

[photo courtesy of @wimpyking]

channelling something of the Roy Castle

TV Waterloo Road won the Best Drama at the National Television Awards? Waterloo Road!?! Insert the relevant conspiracy theories and mathematical talk related to split votes between Doctor Who and Sherlock. The show began with this rather good sketch:

Matt Smith owns the part now obviously, but Dermott's the big surprise channelling something of the Roy Castle in Doctor Who and the Daleks with some excellent facial gorm. The canonicity debate begins, but since it seems to be set in the same universe as Dimensions in Time, I think we can all sleep tonight.

Does anyone have any 200 pin 2Gb DDR2 800 / PC2 6400 SO-DIMM netbook memory sticks going spare?

Life Having been looked at by people who know about these things, it is indeed the case that my Dell computer is very broken, the motherboard having expired before the rest of the pieces. Dell apparently only use motherboards manufactured for themselves which are very difficult and expensive to get hold of and the people who know about these things suggest that it would be cheaper to buy a whole new computer.

At present that's not really an option so I'm tottering along with my Compaq Mini 110c which is fine but because of some licensing agreement related to Windows XP is only manufactured with a single gig of memory. So sometimes, particularly when I've more than two applications open (Firefox and Tweetdeck should do it) it's very, very slow. Upgrades are available but before I head to Amazon I was just wondering ...

Does anyone have any 200 pin 2Gb DDR2 800 / PC2 6400 SO-DIMM netbook memory sticks going spare?

Just thought it was worth asking.

Updated: I've bought one.

"still haunts my nostrils"

Liverpool Life In a surprising blast from the past, Meg Pickard reveals she worked the evening shift at the 051 cinema in Liverpool during the mid-90s, the place along with the Hyde Park in Leeds (also part of the tiny Robins Cinemas chain) where I fell in love with cinema:
"I got the job because I spent so much time there in the evenings. Since I was hanging out chatting to the manager before and after films anyway, eventually he asked if I wanted to work regular shifts there in exchange for free entry and a lift home at the end of the night. Of course I did!

So from then on, I just had to turn up an hour earlier than I would otherwise do for a screening, record the answerphone message that gave film times for the week ahead, make popcorn and mix up fizzy drinks (the particular combination of concentrated flavouring syrup and carbonated water the pumps used still haunts my nostrils) or sell tickets before the film, then show latecomers into the darkened screen with a little torch, before settling into the usher’s seat at the back to catch the majority of the movie."
Meg continues with some interesting talk of the suggestion box (which I remember) and how in a rudamentary way it demonstrates the importance of audience interaction, but this is a real surprise since I've admired her work for years and now it seems we may have met.  I even wonder now if she was the random stranger who sat next to me in a screen of Les Miserables because there were only two of us there at that point and didn't want to be alone for four hours.

The 051 was like that, a good sense of community, based on a love of film.  When the family went to see Brassed Off, the screening was also attended by Dean Sullivan (Brookside's Jimmy Corkhill) and an assembledge of his friends.  Only afterwards did anyone remark that a local celeb had been amongst us.  No one asked for his autography or inadvertantly spoilt his night out as I've seen happen elsewhere.

The shell of the cinema is still there above the 051 club.  I think Mark Kermode interviewed Terence Davies for The Culture Show in there when Of Time and the City was released.  The size of the auditorium gives it away.  Unless I'm simply being nostalgic and it's the ABC Cinema around the corner on Lime Street.  There are a lot of derelict cinemas in that area now.

I still have a programme from the 051 in that era which I've uploaded to flickr.  There's a rather wonderful note on the cover that they're connected with a web address at the bottom, a site which like the cinema has gone now.  But not the films.  I think it's about time I got around to seeing Beyond The Clouds.

Marion Cottilard hasn't been included

Film With a certain sense of deja vu, it's that time of year again when I look at a list of films I haven't seen and guess which will win a small golden man holding a sword.

Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Still Inception, though I'm becoming really embarassed that I haven't seen anything else on this list. I've been distracted.

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

I'm with Mark Kermode, who was ranting about this on the radio earlier. How is Chris Nolan not nominated in this slot for what as he says was the most directed film of last year?

Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

He's the most obvious candidate but James Franco is liked isn't he?

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Blimey, that's a strong field. In times gone by so desperate was Oscar to find actresses to nominate, films which otherwise had been ignored or gone direct to the home market would find themselves lists. Surely it's going to be Natalie Portman's year isn't it?

Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawks, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

Bruce Banner 3.0 nominated for an Oscar?  Geoffrey Rush will probably win it either way.

Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom

This is a bit old school and I'm astonished Marion Cottilard hasn't been included for Inception.  I said Amy Adams for the Baftas.  Seems wrong not to repeat that here.

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
True Grit (Paramount), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions), Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

Oddly, The Social Network was nominated in the Original Screenplay section of Bafta, yet here it is adapted.  Toy Story 3 same.  Neither seems to really fit here, though I think it's because one was based on previous journalism and the other is a sequel.  Sorkin again for West Wing hijinks.  "You don't know how to use the intercom." "It's not that I don't know how to use it. It's just that I haven't learned yet."

Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Mike Leigh
The Fighter (Paramount), Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Inception (Warner Bros.), Written by Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Seidler

Did it have a script or a flowchart?

In a Better World
Outside the Law

No Of Gods and Men?  On that basis I refuse to suggest.

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Though PiXAR will win their usual consilatory award.

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Matthew Libatique
Inception (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Danny Cohen
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (Paramount) Roger Deakins

Some of the shots from the trailer are extraordinary.  Plus I'm not sure how much of Inception contains conventional photography.

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter Paramount Pamela Martin
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

No Inception?  What again?   127 Hours because I'm guessing that part of the process of sustaining the premise is in the editing.

Exit through the Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz A Paranoid Pictures Production
Gasland Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic A Gasland Production
Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs A Representational Pictures Production
Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger An Outpost Films Production
Waste Land Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley (Arthouse Films) An Almega Projects Production

Banksy nominated for an Oscar?  Wow.  I hope on the night when Jack Black or whoever is reading out the names they cut to a shot of a man wearing an anorak.

How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) John Powell
Inception (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Dung, dung.

Coming Home from Country Strong (Sony Pictures Releasing (Screen Gems)) Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
I See the Light from Tangled (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
If I Rise from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Dido really is nominated for an Oscar. Randy Newman will win it again though.

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
Hereafter (Warner Bros.) Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
Inception (Warner Bros.) Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Iron Man 2 really is nominated for an Oscar.   But I suspect this will be Inception's big win.  Which is insane because of all the blockbusters last year, it was the one in which the special effects were secondary.  A bit.

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney), Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.), Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
Inception (Warner Bros.), Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)/span>
The King’s Speech (Paramount), Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)
True Grit (Paramount), Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)

Just to be consistent.

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Colleen Atwood
I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) Antonella Cannarozzi
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Jenny Beavan
The Tempest (Miramax) Sandy Powell
True Grit (Paramount) Mary Zophres

Tilda Swinton was the big name missing from above so it seems only fair to award the frocks that where part of that performance.  When she was wearing them.

All of which said The King's Speech will probably sweep.  Most nominated and in most catagories.  It's the new Titanic.

Behind The Sofa, the place where my Doctor Who reviews appear, is closing after six years

TV The time has come and the moment was prepared for. As Neil announces, one of my other online haunts, Behind The Sofa, the place where my Doctor Who reviews appear, is closing after six years.  Much of anything worth saying is in his obituary post which also includes relevant contacts notes that the content will still be there in the foreseeable future and what content.  Just look at those archives.

Being a fan writing for fans has been an entertaining challenge across those years, even if I've not necessarily enjoyed the desperate half hour after an episode has finished when I've a blank page and no particular inspiration as to how to start, then rewriting whatever I'd typed in at midnight so that it made sense.

As Neil notes, I plan to continue just posting reviews here, when one door closes another opens etc.  But I do think that you're a slightly different audience so that offers a new challenge.  How inside can I be?  How much exposition will I need to include?  Perhaps I'll be freer since I won't be trying to fit within a cocktail of opinions in the same way for substantially fewer readers.

Anyway, here's an old Babelcolour video by way of tribute:


Splash, the Liverpool Arts and Crafts Shop owned and run by the artist Deborah Butler (on Greenbank Road)

Plug! I've not been on top of things lately which is entirely unlike me and one of the things I wasn't on top of was the buying of a birthday card in that I entirely forgot. Without the time to go into town and only Smithdown Road in Liverpool at my disposal I found myself strolling quickly up and down the streets between the cafes and computer repair shops desperate for something tasteful.

Having bought a standby only if I'm really desperate apparently Balamory inspired picture of a bridge at a newsagent I'd finally convinced myself to visit to the Tesco Express, actively hoping that there wouldn't be anything there either simply because the worst element of not being on top of things and a snob like me is that you might end up giving a supermarket bought card to someone you care about.  I was right.

On exiting Tesco, resigned to giving the bridge, I spotted across the road what seemed initially like a mirage and turned out to be a life saver in the form of Splash, the Liverpool Arts and Crafts Shop owned and run by the artist Deborah Butler, which inside has racks and racks of greeting cards.  I bought I nice photograph of rocks and mist in Cornwall and a card with an offcut of one of Deborah's paintings stuck on the front.

Deborah was behind the counter.  Painting.  Big canvas, colourful.  I told her how she'd "saved my life" and how she should have a sign up on Smithdown Road so that people know she's hidden around this corner and promised to write about her and her shop on my blog.  We swapped business cards and that was that.  I ended up giving all three cards to the someone I care about.  She really liked the bridge.

a poor substitute for Mutya and Siobhan

Music While I was away from life (or should that be life online?), the first inkling of Keisha's solo effort "leaked" online. I've tried to listen through the prism of perhaps mid-noughties Sugababes, but ultimately its horrendously bland and can't escape the impression that a vocoder is a poor substitute for Mutya and Siobhan. Plus, she's been autotuned. Why the hell would you autotune the voice?

Meanwhile at the "Sugababes" that crazy upsidedown language you kids use suggests that in killing a vocal during the recording session for the next album they're doing something worthwhile (Two albums with the same line-up? Isn't that a record?) and a greatest hits collection has been announced. Or rather, another one. Wonder if they'll have the cheek to include anything from One Touch?

"Praetor Shinzon, rising star?"

Film Slightly later than planned, it's that time of year again when I look at a list of films I haven't seen and guess which will win a palm-sized golden face.

Best film
Black Swan
True Grit
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Though from critical analysis alone, that it a very strong list, no Little Miss Sunshine or whatever making up the numbers this year. I'm choosing Inception not just because I've seen it, but because like There Will Be Blood, it left me breathless and I think its influence will be long term.

Best director
Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan
David Fincher – The Social Network
Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan – Inception
Danny Boyle – 127 Hours

See above. The achievement of Inception was to create an entertainment that appealed to the general audience and cineastes with the latter not feeling as though they were slumming it in the same way they might have done with The Matrix.

Best actor
Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
James Franco – 127 Hours
Javier Bardem – Biutiful
Jeff Bridges – True Grit

About time isn't it?

Best actress
Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right
Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right
Noomi Rapace – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit

Because she's amazing and Natalie's already going to win more awards that can fit on the shelf in her toilet.  I also have a feeling she's disqualified from being nominated at the Oscars because the films originally existed as a tv series / were broadcast on tv first (cf, The Last Seduction and Linda Fiorentino)

Best supporting actor
Christian Bale – The Fighter
Pete Postlethwaite – The Town
Andrew Garfield – The Social Network
Mark Ruffalo – The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Posthumous Postlethwaite.

Best supporting actress
Amy Adams – The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
Barbara Hershey – Black Swan
Lesley Manville – Another Year
Miranda Richardson – Made in Dagenham

For Enchanted.  Is that allowed?

Outstanding British film
127 Hours
Another Year
Four Lions
The King’s Speech
Made in Dagenham

Even though I've seen Four Lions. Any film which is packing cinemas and selling out after two weeks in afternoon performances to a wide audience deserves an award.

Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer
The Arbor – Clio Bernard (director), Tracy O’Riordan (producer)
Exit Through The Gift Shop – Banksy (director), Jaimie D’Cruz (producer)
Four Lions – Chris Morris (director/writer)
Monster – Gareth Edwards (director/writer)

Just because it's so bloody entertaining and a guilty pleasure.

Best foreign language film
Biutiful – Mexico/Spain
The Secret in Their Eyes – Argentina
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Sweden
I Am Love – Italy
Of Gods and Men – France

The one catagory in which I've seen most of the films and can make an informed choice.  Bugger.  The Secret In Their Eyes is a rather touching love story masquerading as a cop drama which I'm disqualifying because it won the Oscar last year.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo goes too for all of its structural problems due to it trying not to be a tv show.  My initial instinct was to say I Am Love, but I have an odd feeling that the film wouldn't be as compelling as it is without Tilda Swinton so as you can see I've gone with Of Gods and Men, even if for just the Tchaikovsky scene which is impossible to forget.

Best animated feature film
Toy Story 3
How To Train Your Dragon
Despicable Me


Best original screenplay
Black Swan – Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John McLaughlin
The Fighter – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Inception – Christopher Nolan
The Kids are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech – David Seidler

See above, again.

Best adapted screenplay
127 Hours – Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Rasmus Heisterberg, Nikolaj Arcel
The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 – Michael Arndt
True Grit – Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

"She's a fine lookin' woman." "When the president enters the room, nobody sits." "Its big blocka cheese day." "Toby, come quick. Sam's getting his ass kicked by a girl." "I have no idea what the hell is happening right now."   Good times.

Best original score
127 Hours – AR Rahman
Alice in Wonderland – Danny Elfman
How To Train Your Dragon – John Powell
Inception – Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech – Alexandre Desplat

But is it original?

127 Hours
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
True Grit

Some of the shots from the trailer are extraordinary.  Plus I'm not sure how much of Inception contains conventional photography.

127 Hours
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Layers on layers on layers.  The editing kept things lucid.

Production design
Alice in Wonderland
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
True Grit

Maintaining a specific period is extremely difficult and a work of excellent research as well as manufacture.  Or something.

Costume design
Alice in Wonderland
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
Made in Dagenham
True Grit

Clearly.  It's one of those occasions when costumes are a direct part of the storytelling process and not subliminal exposition.

127 Hours
Black Swan
The King’s Speech
True Grit

Clearly.  It's one of those occasions when sound is direct part of the storytelling process and not subliminal exposition.

Special Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland
Black Swan
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part I
Toy Story 3

Though it's interesting that Toy Story 3 is nominated.  Isn't that just one long special effect in this instance?  

Make-up and hair
Alice in Wonderland
Black Swan
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part I
The King’s Speech
Made in Dagenham

 Clearly.  It's one of those occasions when make-up is direct part of the storytelling process and not subliminal exposition.

Short animation
The Eagleman Stag
Matter Fisher

I never could get the hang of them.

Short film
Until The River Runs Red

Ocean Colour Scene?

Rising Star Award (voted for by the public)
Gemma Arterton
Andrew Garfield
Tom Hardy
Aaron Johnson
Emma Stone

Praetor Shinzon, rising star? Unlike previous years there doesn't seem to be a clear winner hear, no LeBuff or Twilight block vote potentiality unless I'm missing out on some massive Kick Ass cult.  I'm choosing Andrew Garfield for no other reason other than ...

Who's In It From Doctor Who?

Andrew Garfield

Was Frank in Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution of the Daleks

Somehow I'd forgotten that ...