Another person has heard the new MKS track. Still not me.

Music Drop everything (yes even that), someone has heard the new Sugababes, Origibabes, MKS track and indicates it to be quite good. Some bloke at Idolator. Here's his review:
"As promised, “Boys” a big pop number: Modern-sounding, but with a lot of spunky ’80s influence. Shades of Cyndi Lauper, even. It also had a quality that one finds in a lot of the very best pop songs (to me, it evoked K-pop girl group 2NE1‘s pretty much peerless “I Love You” in this way, even though they sound completely different) in that it sounds very textured, layered and dynamic, building in density and complexity with each successive verse and chorus. It’s a funny thing to attempt to describe, but you know it when you hear it — and it’s not something that could come through in their gorgeous a cappella rendering of the song, posted last month."
Here's an animated .gif of the man listening to it. He seems quite happy. Which makes me happy too. He also looks like someone I went to school with.  Which is a bit confusing.  Right then, you can pick it all up again and go about your business. We continue to wait.

Rothschild Mansion in Paris.

Architecture Messy Nessy has some atmospheric images of the rotting Rothschild Mansion in Paris:
"The ne0-Louis XIV castle has been abandoned since the Second World War when the Rothschild family fled to England before the arrival of the Germans, who would later inhabit and plunder the house during the four-year Nazi occupation of Paris. After the city’s liberation, the U.S. army were the next self-service tenants at the Chateau Rothschild– their stay didn’t do the residence any favours either. The Rothschilds never returned to their home and over the decades it has been left to deteriorate while serving as a playground for graffiti artists and vandals."
Renovation is important, but sometimes, like second hand books, it's useful to keep houses in their ongoing state so that they reflect the life they've led.

Jennifer Lawrence's Friend.

John Lancaster on the London Underground.

Travel John Lancaster at The Guardian answers an age old question about the London Underground:
"I've lived in London for more than quarter of a century now, and this is the first time I've ever been on the day's first train. It's something I'd often wondered about, though, from both a practical and a romantic point of view. The practical question was a simple one: if the transport network isn't running in the early morning, how do the people who operate it get to work? How does the driver get to the train, if there are no trains to take him there? The answer is prosaic: they get there by minicab. The cabs travel a prescribed route to the various depots on the District line, picking up staff en route as they head to Upminster, Earl's Court, Ealing Common, Barking and Hammersmith. Of these postings, Upminster is the most popular, because a large number of drivers live nearby – that's one of the reasons it is, as I was told by a District veteran, the "senior depot". The first train out from Earl's Court in the morning is at 5.21, but to get there, allowing for multiple pickups and some waiting around at the depot, the minicab from the East End starts as early as 2.30 in the morning. That's an early start to a working day."
But if the driver doesn't have the taxi parked outside their house, how does the driver get to work? Wheels within wheels.

asteroid belt

Space The origin of the Russian rock may have been traced, but if only some journalists had used this handy infographic to help decide if they're supposed to be describing it as a comet, asteroid, meteor, meteoroid or meteorite ... [via]

Name That Space Rock

Jonathan Morris on telesnaps.

TV The next Doctor Who Magazine special is a compilation of telesnaps, in some cases the only surviving visual record of 60s episodes no longer in the archives other than on audio. The accompanying commentaries have been created by author Jonathan Morris, who talks about the process on his blog:
"The other thing that made the process interesting and difficult is that occasionally – maybe once or twice per episode – there would be a telesnap that didn’t correspond to the camera script, because the camera script only describes the plan of action for a recording, and not what was actually shot, and so inevitably the plan would change during the camera rehearsals as the director found that he needed a different shot to tell the story, or had to use a different camera for one shot because the camera he’d planned to use couldn’t move from another set soon enough or would get its cables tangled up or whatever. So whilst the camera scripts are generally very accurate, they’re not the whole story; if you compare an existing episode to its camera script you’ll notice numerous small differences between the plan and the realisation, usually in terms of the timing of cuts."
The appearance of these specials is a coincidental godsend as my rewatch of the whole of Who is just about reaching the moment when what's available becomes decidedly patchy.

WHO 50: 1977:
The Invisible Enemy.

TV Everyone who’s a Doctor Who fan like to talk about their first memory of the series.

With the volume of rereleases and spin-off media this becomes increasingly harder as we find our original recollections of what we saw being submerged with new experiences.

But it’s the dvds which have allowed me to identify which story my first memory is from.

For years and years, I had a clear image of Leela edging along a corridor with a knife and K9.

Years before watching the Davison era religiously thanks to its tea time weeknight slot, this rattled around my mind, and it explains much about me, probably, that unlike other kids who might vividly remember Tom’s benevolent tooth and curls, I had a savage in a leather bikini and a robot dog.

My other toddling tv memory was of ITV's glam rock Banana Splits knock off Animal Kwackers.

Those day-glo misshapen furry costumes used to give me nightmares.

As I began watching Doctor Who again in the early noughties, I was eager to finally discover which story my memory was from.

I’m still not sure. Leela and K9 spent a lot of time in corridors.

But, there is a moment in The Invisible Enemy which is close enough. There’s a corridor, there’s Leela, there’s K9 and the walls have a similar hue.

So my first memory of Doctor Who is from The Invisible Enemy, my three year old mind ignoring, not just Tom, but the psychedelic Fantastic Voyage people shrinking imagery elsewhere.

That probably explains a lot about me too.

South Croydon.

Broadcasting With little to no idea what any of it means, I must still offer you this cultural artefact from, BBC Research and Development Report 1955-06 : The service area of the temporary television transmitter at Redmoss, Aberdeen, because I know some of you will. The archive has a collection of similar reports:
"The television transmitter was installed at the medium wave site at Redmoss to give a temporary service to the city of Aberdeen while the main transmitter at Meldrum is being built.

"The effective radiated power from the vision transmitter has been restricted to 3 watts (peak white) so that the average field strength in Aberdeen will be of the same order as expected from the permanent station at Meldrum."
Eldrad must live.


Jennifer Lawrence's Golden Globes press conference.

"Is it hard to walk in heals in that dress?"

The Heated Terraces of Paris Are Safe. For Now.

Travel One of the more atmospheric elements of Paris in film of late, is the proliferation of gas heaters with their orange and red glow providing a romantic backdrop to illicit or tragic meetings in terraces.

But Jacques Boutault, mayor of the 2nd Arrondissement and a member of EELV, the French Green Party, has been campaigning to have them banned for their obvious environmental issues, the sheer extravagance of heating the outside in winter.

A ban was due to be brought in on the 1st June, but the the Paris Administrative Court have overturned the decision in favour of the cafe owner's complaints. The Atlantic explains:
"In its January ruling, a tribunal from the Paris Administrative Court ruled the city had not sufficiently justified why gas and not electric heaters had been banned, writing the city conducted “no serious study” showing gas heaters pollute more than electric ones. While electric heaters do not emit carbon dioxide as gas heaters do, they cause more than double the carbon-dioxide emissions of gas heaters during the production and distribution of electricity, according to a 2007 study by RTE, France’s Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, and ADEME, France’s Agency for the Environment and Energy Management, which the tribunal cited. The city maintains that gas heaters are worse because they dirty the air those near the heaters breathe."
In the comments, we're told that Germany has a different option. Blankets.

a stuffed toy

TV The news that The Review Show is seeing a reduction in episodes and shifting to BBC Four seems like the perfect opportunity to lament its heyday, the Lawson/Pearson/Parsons/Paulin era, and rewatch Adam & Joe's superb satire. Notice the one other show featured which is still on television and in roughly the same format:

Eldrad Must Live.

Clive Martin on not seeing Run for you Wife.

Film The reality of watching Danny Dyer's new film, Run for you Wife:
"After about 20 minutes of waiting in this cinema, it was clear that something was wrong. The crowd began to squirm agitatedly in their seats. The old people, emboldened by their coffee, were tutting and clicking like crickets in the background of a Danny Dyer film set in the Med. Somebody even said, "Oh, for goodness' sake," at some point, so you could tell the mood was starting to turn. Myself and the budding Eberts and Siskels started glaring at the projector with indignation, as if to say, "I had a great comparison between Dyer and James Cagney to use and you idiots are ruining it."
Or not. The film hadn't even started yet. Or ever ... anyway, inevitably ...


a call from Gallifrey

Journalism The International Herald Tribune, my paper news of choice when The Guardian goes online only, is to change its name. It's to become The International New York Times, a title which on the one hand expresses where the content of the paper comes from but on the other ditches the opportunity to use Jean Seberg in a potential marketing campaign. Why not appropriate the old New York Herald Tribune name?

Eldrad must live.

Jennifer Lawrence meets Jack Nicholson for the first time.

"What are you going to remember about tonight?"

My Perfect Job.

Film I think I've seen my perfect job. Neatorama have linked to a (currently unavailable) blog post about someone who's all but hired their own personal librarian, someone who listens to the kinds of books they like to read and offers suggestions, even adding them to a request list. They call it Netflix for the library.

Not being much of reader, I'd be useless at the paper version, but I think I would be rather good at being a librarian for Netflix, or as would be the case Lovefilm, being paid to curate or offer suggestions for someone's film viewing habits, pointing them in the direction of what I think are the best of the best in each genre.

I'm not sure what the rate would be, how do you quantify the contents of my brain?  Plus someone would have be really, really bothered to want to pay for this service over and above whatever their relevant subscription is.  Plus there'd be a lot of trust that I wouldn't unexpectedly have them sit down in front of The Turin Horse.  But still, if only, if only.

Jennifer Lawrence's Oscars press conference.

"Are you not worried that you've peaked too early?"

Fixing shit in the X-Men movie universe.

Film Bryan Singer has given an interview to IGN and they flat out ask him the question. Here's his response:
"IGN: One thing that’s interesting about the alternate universe/timeline in Days of Future Past is that it could potentially give you the opportunity to revisit things that happened in the third film in terms of characters and endings that you might like to see changed.

Bryan Singer: You mean, what you’re politely saying is, “fix s**t.” Is that what you’re saying? That’s what I’m hearing. [Laughing]

IGN: [Laughing] Maybe…

Singer: There’s going to be a little of that, a few things I can repair.

IGN: Are fans going to be pleased with these things you will be repairing?

Singer: I think so, I think so, yes.
Best bit? The journalist's polite way of suggesting X3 is rubbish and Singer's near acknowledgement in indicating that s**t needs fixing.  Oh and the use of the word "fixing".  At this point, what we really want is the narrative ability to have the sequel that X2 promised rather than what we have.

a plant in a pot

Nature Blisstree offers examples of why potted plants are good for the soul:
"There have been several studies that examine how house plants can actually help filter and clean the air in our homes. One notable study, by NASA (yes, that NASA), found that common houseplants are a great way to filter and clean the air in small, enclosed spaces. Another study, from 2009, found that indoor plants can remove formaldehyde and other toxins from the environment. In order to get these air-filtering benefits, the NASA study suggests having one 10- to 12-inch potted plant per 100 square foot of room."
Eldread must live.

Lisa Jardine on The Winter Queen.

History In this week's A Point of View on Radio 4, Lisa Jardine explains the importance of Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, the so-called Winter Queen, to our national heritage:
"More than 2,000 of her letters survive, revealing her to have been a key cultural, political and religious figure, her views taken seriously from London to Prague.

"Lobbying, bargaining, negotiating and cajoling, she was a major player during a particularly unsettled period of European history.

"In the end, she was successful in having her eldest son Charles Louis reinstated as Elector Palatine, and subsequently restored at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, to his Lower Palatinate lands along the Rhine."
Many of the letters can be read in this book preview at Google.

Eileen Bowman on playing Snow White at the Oscars.

TV In 1989, the Oscars telecast opened with a fifteen minute dance number featuring Rob Lowe as a singing Prince Charming opposite young Eileen Bowman is Snow White.  It was a disaster, and so much so it nearly ended both of their careers and led to an open letter of complaint being written by the likes of Paul Newman, Gregory Peck, Julie Andrews and Billy Wilder. Bowman talks to The Hollywood Reporter about being inside what looks now to be a televisual marvel:
"I've never spoken publicly at length about this. I basically fell off the turnip truck from San Diego and landed in L.A. I went for what I thought was an audition for Beach Blanket Babylon at the Beverly Hills Hotel; they gave me 15 pages of music to learn. I auditioned, and [director Steve Silver] said, "We want to see if you fit into the dress." There was a Snow White outfit and a hairstylist and makeup person. I got dressed and made up, and they said, "Now we're going to go somewhere." There was another girl there, too. So you have a Mercedes with two Snow Whites in the back, and we were told, "Close your eyes, you can't see where we're going."
And here it is in all its glory:

Nate Silver on the Oscars.

Film  Nate Silver utilises his election prediction methodology to suggest who will win at the Oscars. Says much the same things as everyone else anyway:
"One place where “Lincoln” will almost certainly pick up hardware is for Best Actor, where Daniel Day-Lewis should win for his portrayal of the 16th president. Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”) did win the Satellite Award and the National Board of Review’s award for best actor, but neither has a strong track record, whereas Mr. Day-Lewis has swept the awards that predict Oscar success well."
I've now reached the point of not being too depressed about seeing the Oscars each year because of Murdoch.  Plus I can do without three hours of in-jokes about Ted, I think.

nuclear reactor

Science Is nuclear power losing popularity? The answer seems to be geographic. The Washington Post suggests that it's on the wane in the US, at least, thanks to the shift towards shale gas:
"Now we can add another trend to the list: Nuclear power is starting to decline. Since 2010, the amount of electricity generated from America’s nuclear reactors has fallen about 3 percent, or 29 billion kilowatt-hours. That’s a sizable drop: As John Hanger points out, we’d need to quadruple the number of solar installations in the United States just to make up the loss of that carbon-free electricity."
But Iran have just announced uranium finds and power plant expansion and Bloomberg notes, China wants nuclear reactors, and lots of them. In other words, Eldrad must live.

Mark Ravenhill on not writing for Doctor Who.

TV The writer Mark Ravenhill's been speaking to the BBC about his work on the occasion of his adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's A Life of Galileo, but half the interview is about being a Doctor Who fan. At one point we're given another insight into the franchise's writer selection process:
"I did once go and see [former Doctor Who boss] Russell T Davies and he said he thought I was far too adult for Doctor Who. But he was creating [Doctor Who spin-off] Torchwood and so he said to go away and come up with some ideas. I had very few clues what it was about, so it was like throwing darts at a dartboard in the dark.

"That was the closest I ever came. Although I love Doctor Who - maybe I'm not the right person to write it."
Most of us had very few clues as to what  [Doctor Who spin-off] Torchwood was about even after it was broadcast.

Anyone can write for Doctor Who, and for RTD, the creator of Queer as Folk, to give his reason for Ravenhill not being able to write for the series as him being "far too adult" is bizarre, unless it was after Mark had already submitted some ideas for the the main show.

Either way, [current Doctor Who boss] Steven Moffat should give him another chance.