Sport York council builds fence through goalposts: "We recognise that the failure to relocate the goalposts is a real own goal." [via]

"The older dancer"

Dance The origin of the pogo. Or HiLobrow identifies a social anthropologist at work, on screen, in A Hard Day's Night.
"The older dancer — who from 22:42-48 can be seen closely studying, and sometimes imitating, the other dancers, with lip-biting concentration — has never been identified; Beatles scholars have tended to assume that he was an extra who happened to be at Les Ambassadeurs that evening. HiLobrow’s research department has determined conclusively that the older dancer was actually the pioneering social anthropologist Clifford Geertz, then on staff at the University of Chicago! He was 37 when he was filmed by Lester."
Which is fine, except why did it have to be Ringo?


Radio The BBC Press Office has published details of three Torchwood radio plays running (as in 2009) in the Afternoon Play slot (2.15pm) on the 11th, 12th and 13th July (Monday to Wednesday).

Given the umbrella titled The Lost Files to neatly explain the appearance of Ianto they're in the format of the first couple of seasons and spin-off books, with an artifact/alien/spooky-doo of the week.

The Doctor Who news page has lists the writers. They all have previous in the Whoniverse, the most interesting perhaps being Ryan Scott who's co-written episode nine of Season Four on television.

Speaking of which, can we take the timing of these broadcasts to indicate that episode one will appear some time later in that week or the following?  Please?

desperate to emote

TV One of the big problems with Star Trek: Voyager (besides the scripting, storytelling and premise) was that the standard of acting which always seemed slightly off, especially in comparison to its stablemate Deep Space 9 in later years.  What should have been big emotional scenes always had a slightly muted quality, especially in the case of Garrett (Ensign Kim) Wang who often looked desperate to emote but didn't seem capable. Recently he's explained his method. It wasn't his method:
"When casting ended on Voyager, all the actors were invited by executive producer Rick Berman to attend a congratulatory luncheon. It was during this lunch that Berman informed us that he expected all actors portraying human roles to follow his decree. He told us that we were to underplay our human characters. He wanted our line delivery to be as military — and subsequently devoid of emotion — as possible, since this, in his opinion, was the only way to make the aliens look real.

"My first thought was, “That’s not right! What the heck was Berman talking about? Was he pulling our legs? The human characters shouldn’t be forced to muffle their emotions. We were human, not androids!”
I've not seen any of Voyager much past season five for just this reason -- there's only so many times you can watch two actors playing against each other who might as well be on different soundstages for all the chemistry they have.  It also explains why B'Elanna Torres was my favourite character (Roxann Dawson was presumably allowed to act) and why Sarah Silverman seemed like such a breath of fresh air in her single appearance.

and the plot of

Film It's Robot Wars: The Movie, with the ABC Warriors and the plot of The Shining recut. From the director of Just Married. Um, activate?

has been moved

Nature Reader Steeloctopus in the comments points us to the news that the emperor penguin that washed up on the beach in New Zealand has been moved and is being taken care of, the sand being flushed from its system. There's a suggestion that it'll be transported to a facility in the US that's expert in caring for emperor penguins. He's also been nicknamed "Happy Feet".

two- to three-hour zone

TV Another Guardian article about the BBC, I'm afraid, but this is about an undeniably brilliant idea for filling BBC Two daytime now that the government is forcing us to pay them less money:
"BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow and BBC daytime controller Liam Keelan are understood to be drawing up plans for a new afternoon schedule containing a two- to three-hour zone composed of repeated factual programmes, slanted towards those that have already screened on BBC4."
There's the usual comment from the corp. about not commenting on ongoing speculation (or whatever), but this is the sort of thing PVRs were designed for and hopefully it'd include some of the material from the very early days of BBC Four some of which was very good but hasn't been seen since.

beep and indeed beep

Etiquette In this week's Goop, Gwyneth interview some fashion guy, Derek Blasberg, on the subject of electronica and "high end" socialising. It's probably useful read and fairly entertaining partly because he answers without a hint of irony in soundbites like...
"To Tweet or not to Tweet, that is the question in these modern times."
I mean really ...
"My rule of thumb is to take a cue from the host: If they're the sort of person who is into social media and has already Tweeted about the fete, go for it. But if the host is the sort of person who abstains from Twitter and Facebook, keep your cameraphone pictures to yourself."
Mostly common sense stuff then. But there honestly isn't anything worse than going out for a drink with someone, just the two of you, on purpose, and they spend the whole night conducting conversations by text with other friends, especially if you're not doing same and you're being interrupted every three words (beep and indeed beep), especially when it's one of those moments when you really need to talk.

"pay close attention"

Politics Rolling Stone on Michele Bachmann:
"Anyone wanting to understand how President Bachmann might behave should pay close attention to what happened at New Heights. Because the school took government money, like other charter schools, it had to maintain a separation of church and state, and Bachmann was reportedly careful to keep God out of the initial outlines of the school's curriculum. But before long, parents began to complain that Bachmann and her cronies were trying to bombard the students with Christian dogma — advocating the inclusion of something called the "12 Biblical Principles" into the curriculum, pushing the teaching of creationism and banning the showing of the Disney movie Aladdin because it promoted witchcraft.

"One member of Michele's entourage talked about how he had visions, and that God spoke to him directly," recalled Denise Stephens, a parent who was opposed to the religious curriculum at New Heights. "He told us that as Christians we had to lay our lives down for it. I remember getting in the car with my husband afterward and telling him, 'This is a cult.'"
Insert the usual quote about Keyser Söze.  She seems to be the kind of person who is firmly against all forms of fundamentalism, unless it's her brand of fundamentalism and as tends to be the case with fundamentalists doesn't even believe that she her self is a fundamentalist.

For balance, here's The Awl's takedown of the Rolling Stone's takedown:
"The profile is the kind of battle-axing of Bachmann that is going to do great pageviews for the magazine but ultimately play right into her hand. It gives Bachmann legitimate evidence that the fabled leftist mainstream media is attacking her. Consequently, it will make her more popular with a base that looks for which conservative leader is being most reviled in the media, and then assumes that person is their best bet."

a range of events

Shakespeare Very pleased to see The Liverpool Shakespeare Festival have gained enough funding to return this year with a range of events and primarily a production of Romeo and Juliet (featuring Rachel Rae who played Marnie (the Mary figure) in the Misfits Christmas Special).

Tickets and whatnot available here.

Laura at the Liverpol Daily post has the full story.


Books Neil Gaiman's apparently in talks to novelise his Doctor Who episode The Doctor's Wife which would make it the first nuWho, non-spin off episode to receive that treatment.

"Spielberg, Scorsese, Nolan"

Politics Adrian reviews the Social Liberal Forum conference last Saturday:
"Imagine you’re at a convention organised by film fans and they’ve managed to attract some really big names; Spielberg, Scorsese, Nolan. So Spielberg gets up and gives the same talk that he’s given to a dozen other conventions; and then after him, you have a guy who’s read a few books about film saying how it’d be nice if films were more realistic. And then the Q&A is full of people announcing their love of Lord of the Rings, or saying that making films more realistic would kill Pixar. That’s what this conference felt like."
His description sounds like every "official" conference I've been to. The delegates are usually more interested in using it as a networking opportunity than caring too much about the speeches which often they've already heard elsewhere or the content of which they've already seen in trade journals.   It's about being there or being seen to be there.  Plus if you're not part of their crowd they're also crushingly lonely experiences.  At least the food is usually quite good.

"a joint bid put together by three parties"

Towels H2G2 (which was put up for sale as part of the BBC's restructuring of their website) has been bought by just the right people:
"It’s a joint bid put together by three parties: Robbie Stamp, h2g2c2 ('The h2g2 Community Consortium') and a company called Noesis Systems Ltd.

"As many of you know, Robbie was a very close friend of Douglas Adams and, along with Douglas, is the original founder of H2G2 back in 1999. The H2G2 Community and the site are very much close to his heart.

"h2g2c2 - 'The h2g2 Community Consortium' - have shown great energy and a real passion for continuing the very best traditions of H2G2. They will make sure the Community is always at the heart of everything H2G2 does.

"Noesis, headed by Brian Gunner Larholm, are an established social media company that specialises in online communities."
Robbie Stamp has a full report of the purchasing process which amounted to the combining of the three most attractive bids and setting up a charitable trust.  By the people, for the people.

"perfect, stressful"

Blog! Ste says in one paragraph, what took me five:
"When you know people are reading you want to make each post perfect and that can be paralysing — not that anything I wrote here was close to perfect, stressful in itself when you’re your own biggest fan / harshest critic. But the number of times I gave up writing things halfway through grew and grew and grew until there was no point starting anything anymore. Then Twitter emerged. It’s easier to stress over 140 characters than three paragraphs of half-assed bullshit. Quicker, too. I’ve always enjoyed word counts."
Good to have The Triforce back.

"times of extraordinary change"

TV The BBC and Stephen Poliakoff are talking to each other again, thank goodness. New five part series begins shooting in October:
"Dancing On The Edge is an explosive new drama series for BBC Two set in the early 1930s following a black jazz band in London during times of extraordinary change [and] follows the Louis Lester Band as they find fame amongst the parties and performances of upper class society in the capital. Initially shocked by black musicians performing in polite society, many recoil, but London's progressive socialites take the band under their wing."
If you've not seen his last piece, the film Glorious 39 yet, you've missed something very special, certainly one of the most underrated films of the last decade.

newspapers, blogs or twitter

Comics as journalism analogie. The true diametrical opposites in DC’s universe aren’t Superman and Batman ...
"The real opposites are Batman and Green Lantern. [...] Green Lantern is cosmic, interplanetary: he doesn’t even defend Earth, but a sector of the galaxy where Earth happens to be located. Batman is hyperlocal: except for the big-time crossover events, he’s fighting for Gotham and that’s it. [...] And Batman and Green Lantern will partner up against genuine threats to the planet, but really, they hate each other’s guts."
Or everyone who writes for newspapers, blogs or twitter (assuming they're not all the same thing) are part of the Justice League. Or something.

the difficulties of flying into Antarctica

Nature You will have heard about the penguin that washed up on the shores of New Zealand and that their Department of Conservation has decided to just let nature take its course rather than give it a lift home even though its resorting to eating sand (somewhat because of the difficulties of flying into Antarctica at this time of year).

But anyone who's seen Werner Herzog's film Encounters at the End of the World (or this clip) will know that it's not unusual for penguins to lose their way both geographically and psychologically and the rule is to always to leave them be:

Update! 24/06/2011 Steeloctopus in the comments points us to the news that the penguin has been moved and is being taken care of, the sand being flushed from its system. There's a suggestion that it'll be transported to a facility in the US that's expert in caring for emperor penguins.

later in the summer

TV Well, we were waiting and finally we know. The Torchwood launch was at the BFI last night and slipped into the BBC News story and in the middle so most of us who skim these things attempting to avoid spoilers might have missed it:
"The series will air in the US in early July and be shown later in the summer on BBC One."
Which means the thing is going to be spoilt well before we have a chance to see it and unless -- as I suspect -- they run it stripped across two weeks in a similar fashion to Children of Earth, it'll crash into Doctor Who season six, part deux.

Updated!  22/6/2011  After interviewing RTD on Front Row,  Mark Lawson indicated that Torchwood would be on the BBC next month.  Well, then.

David Tennant (who I'm sure was there, unless it's wishful thinking)

Film When I attended the Edinburgh Festival, in 1998, before everything was staggered across a couple of months, nearly all of the film screenings were sold out. But one lunch time I turned up at the Picturehouse anyway in the hopes of seeing something.

While I dawdled in the foyer trying to come to terms with the booking process and even what was being shown that day, I overheard a woman at said box office successfully failing to gain a refund on a ticket because she wasn't able to see whatever it was that she wanted to see. As she stepped away, I approached her and offered to buy the ticket.

It turned out not to be for a film at all, but for The Script Factory, a staged reading of an unproduced screenplay which sounded more interesting than seeing an actual film, because it was potentially part of the film making process. So I paid her the £4.50 and headed into the auditorium.

The place was already filled to the rafters. She'd been running late and now I was running late by proxy. The only seat available I could see was on the front row which I ran to, only realising moments later it was in the middle of a press area, but no one seemed to mind and as the lights were going down, it was too late anyway.

Then there was an announcement and the person being announced stepped out, Tim Roth. That was the first inkling that this was going to be something special. He introduced the screenplay, something called Bad Blood, about vampires living in Edinburgh, and offered some appreciation to the sponsors and screenwriter who's name I don't remember. It's been twelve years.

What I do remember was that once he'd left the stage, the cast strolled on to our applause which included Bythe Duff from Taggart, David Tennant (who I'm sure was there, unless it's wishful thinking) and Kelly Macdonald still just a couple of years out from Trainspotting.

And so the script reading began. It was as you'd expect, similar to the readthrough footage you see in dvd documentaries and on Doctor Who Confidential, someone announcing in the "stage" directions and the actors working through the dialogue, though with them all sat towards us so they could only offer minimal interaction beyond the odd sideways glance or wink.

The plot was much the same as Buffy The Vampire Slayer (and Twilight later). Girl meets boy. Boy turns out to be vampire. She meets the family. The family want to eat her. I don't think the film was ever made or if it was whether it retained the Edinburgh locations, most of the action taking place in the Grassmarket, just around the corner from where we were staying.

Kelly was directly in front of me and luminous. But in my memory she kept looking towards me. I thought initially it might be an actorly thing, like the quote I posted the other day about Donald Sinden, about finding someone in the audience to focus on. But she really did seem slightly distracted, despite giving a sparky performance with what may well have been a text she'd only just picked up.

Only after a few minutes did I realise that this was the day I'd chosen to wear my Trainspotting t-shirt. The one with the poster on the front. The one with the picture of her character Diane growling next to a shot of Begbie giving the universal greeting.  I felt self conscious.  What must she be thinking?  Was I just being paranoid?  Kelly Macdonald thinks I'm the very least a fanboy.  At the worst she thinks I'm a crazy sick lunatic.

So I did the only thing I could do.  I cross my arms and covered up the image.  And sat that way for the hour and a half it took to get through the script, which I was at least able to appreciate for its wit and the way that it worked its horror plot through the thoroughly recognisable geography of Edinburgh city, in much the same was as Trainspotting actually, apart from the bits shot in Glasgow.  All the while I could feel my arms going to sleep.

The event ended, they left, I was able to move again and although this story doesn't really have an ending, what it taught me is that you can't really legislate for anything and you know that the first film I watched when I came home was Braveheart, a VHS of which I'd bought in the Princes Street Virgin Megastore.  But the next was Trainspotting which I've also never been able to watch in quite the same way again.

Adam Curtis's style

TV While I think some of what this very funny parody has to say about Adam Curtis's style, The Loving Trap, is true, it's also just possible, judging by the final episode of All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace, which cut back and forth between seemingly unconnected items before crashing them together at the end, that he's well are of it [via].

the clarity with which he makes his argument

TV I'm too tired to comment too much on this, but if you have a spare twenty or so minutes, John Stewart appeared on Fox News Sunday with host Chris Wallace and essentially took over the network for half an hour (barring some bizarre clip related interruptions from Wallace).  There's an excerpt at that link then the full interview in a stream from Fox's website, so remember to hold your nose.

The actual content isn't that different to the infamous Crossfire confrontation but it's worth seeing for the clarity with which he makes his argument which somewhat mirrors Charlie Brooker's Newswipe at its best, especially the section about the US network coverage of Nanci Pelosi's press conference about Weiner's resignation.

the London Olympics are inherently unfair anyway

Sport Diamond Geezer crunches the ticket allocations for Olympics 2012. Judging by what he finds, about the only sure way of getting into the opening ceremony was to be a timelord lighting the flame:
"One reason so many people haven't got any tickets is because the pool of tickets turns out to be 16% smaller than we thought it was. They've kept back some tickets to release later, for all events, "once the final seating plans for the venues are finalised." Not that they felt the need to warn us of this earlier. I find it astonishing how frequently LOCOG have dripfed selective information about the ticketing process, only to announce something later that isn't quite what we thought we believed. If Britain currently has zero faith in the fairness of the ticket allocation process, that'll be because the system has treated us like fools throughout."
As DG notes, how is it fair that with more tickets available than applicants, over half of those applicants went without?

Surely the best way would have been to have a process where applicants booked tickets in blocks on an event by event basis and then made sure that they got in to at least one of the events they asked for. Seems wrong to me that some people will be getting to see more than one, and other won't be getting to see anything at all unless its on the television, even if, and this is sure to be the case, they live next door to a venue.

But of course the London Olympics are inherently unfair anyway because most of the event is happening in London.  So even though the whole of the country has paid for some aspect of it, either through the lottery or their taxes, only a minuscule proportion of us will have the wherewithal to attend in person having been hampered by geography and the cost of travel.

The Manchester Velodrome is Olympic quality, and closer to London than the distance between some venues in China and yet we've paid for another one to be built down south.  As with the Millennium Dome and a range of other apparently national events, the decision's been taking to keep it away from the rest of us and artificially distant and no kind of bus tour can replace that.

"The world must be peopled"

Theatre There isn't much to add to this excellent investigation into "the darkness at the heart" of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, but I just wanted to highlight this description of a famous moment in John Barton's 1976 RSC production which I've never seen captured with such clarity before:
"Audiences remember how (Donald Sinden) would sometimes perform the whole of his soliloquy at the end of the second act – in which Benedick, tricked into believing Beatrice loves him, gradually abandons his former opposition to marriage – as though remonstrating with increasing vehemence with a single chosen spectator in the stalls. He would make a tremendous, emphatically nodding climax of the line "The world must be peopled", as though this were a clinching riposte with which to convince his obdurate opponent, and would then stomp triumphantly off – only to return a moment later, visibly calming himself, to offer the same spectator amends with a placatory, face-saving "When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I would live till I were married". Dench recalls finding Sinden so funny and so perpetually unexpected that she would sometimes be laughing too much to make her ensuing entrance."
 For years I just thought Sinden was just that bloke from Never The Twain.  How wrong I was.