Review 2010s:

Life  Here are ten items I could quite manage to fit anywhere else, some websites, video channels and other web adjacent real world things which have proved invaluable over the past ten years.  It's not exhaustive and at least one entry is here just because it's cool and has a philosophical resonance.  Some housekeeping while I'm here to fill up the rest of the paragraph.  Tomorrow's entry will be the usual dumpster fire that is my annual predictions and then it'll be back on the Doctor Who review treadmill.  I had planned to finally knock out eight paragraphs about The Witchfinders but life has intervened.  Some time next year hopefully.  Anyway, on with the show.

Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone Interactive Video.

Uploaded to publicise the release of a big boxset of Dylan's albums, we're presented with dozens of television channels and programmes in various genres in which every participant is miming Dylan's song.  But amazingly, there are no loops.  Every single stream covers the song from start to finish often in quite sophisticated ways, and sometimes through existing shows like The Price is Right or Marc Maron's sitcom, so it's possible to spend hours on the site just watching your way through everything.  I just wish there was a way to choose a particular stream from the off.  Who knows what we're missing in the opening moments [link].

Cinema Paradiso.

When Amazon closed their flavour of Lovefilm in 2017, I was bereft.  Thank god for Cinema Paradiso which opened at roughly the same time it turned out was the better service all along.  Carrying, it would appear, almost every dvd released in this country, this has been a fantastic replacement with even Network's catalogue having recently been added.  Most weeks I'll get the newest films on the day of release and if it wasn't for their original releases and distribution, I would have cancelled Netflix in favour of it ages ago.  Now here's the inevitable link to their referral programme with its one month of free dvds.


My first encounter with the Haim sisters was during the BBC's coverage of Glastonbury 2014, which was about the time I finally had access to unlimited broadband so went mad watching every stream.  Their half hour set was fascinating enough for me to head straight to Spotify and listen to the whole album and that's pretty much were my musical taste disappeared off to for the next five years.  Bits of that set are still nefariously available on YouTube along with bits of their set from a year earlier and I can relive the experience.  What is she doing with her mouth?  Why is the sound quality so dull?  Why is she so off key?  Yet why am I enjoying this so much? [official website]

Arriva Click.

As I discovered earlier in the year, Liverpool Royal Hospital is a geographically difficult place to visit from home or indeed anywhere if you're using public transport especially if you're visiting with relatives who aren't so hot on their feet any more.  Yes, taxis, but they can prove expensive.  Which is why the Arrive Click service was so invaluable, taking us from door to door via an app at a fraction of the cost.  They're also immensely wheelchair accessible and the drivers are all incredibly friendly no matter the long hours they must work.  Yes, I have a code for that too.  Install the app and enter stuart3e6 in the obvious place.  We both get £7.50 credit for the trouble.

Zinc Tablets

On the list of things which happened to me this decade was contracting oral lichen planus, which when spoken sounds like an incantation from the Underworld movies, but is actually a tongue and gum inflammation which causes white rashes all over the place and a 1 in 1000 chance in ten years of developing mouth cancer. It's caused by a genetic disorder around some white blood cells and described to me as my immune system being at war with itself. One of the side effects can be a zinc deficiency so every morning I have to take zinc tablets to paper over the gaps.

Which has had interesting side effect. Touching wood as I type this, I haven't been sick since I began taking them. For years I've been felled by colds and man flu for days and weeks but recently even when all around are contracting theirs and blaming it on me, I've steered clear. This is apparently not a coincidence. It can be a "cure" for cold if taken early enough. If I do feel a bit run down, it barely lasts an hour or two and I'm all ok.  So I've learnt that zinc tablets are an excellent way of keeping disease at bay.

Radio Garden.

Radio Garden is magic.  It's a way of accessing thousands of internet radio streams across the world through a graphical representation of the Earth.  Hover over an old holiday destination or a city you're curious about and all of the local services roll out before you.  Twenty seven pages worth in New York, fifty-one in Paris.  Originally created to coincide with an exhibition at the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and recently turned into a company by one of its developers Jonathan Puckey, long may it continue [listen here].

Box of Broadcasts.

Yes, again.  But this is one of the best websites around.  Available to anyone with an academic log-in who's institution has subscribed (which is most of them), Box of Broadcasts is a massive streaming database of everything broadcast on terrestrial television and radio since about 2006, all the films, comedy, drama, documentaries, everything.  Added to that is a range of archival stuff requested for upload by staff and students, as well as anything the BBC's broadcast about Shakespeare, productions and the like.  For academic purposes only of course, but we're all learning about everything, all the time, aren't we? [visit]

Dirty Feed.

Begun on the January 1st 2010, John Hoare's blog has found a niche as the place to go for the miscellaneous detail of pop culture, most often 80s BBC sitcoms, such things as highlighting the differences between broadcast and video release versions of Hi-Di-Hi or most recently how the Doctor at Large series provided John Cleese with a testing ground for ideas which would eventually end up in the DNA of Fawlty Towers.  One masterwork is this biographical piece about working as the TX at Channel 5 over a twenty-four hour period which really sheds light on the numerous errors and problems which can occur on any television channel [visit].

The Internet Archive.

Did I say these were all going to be websites you'd never heard of?  But more than any other resource, the Internet Archive continues to be a force for good despite its dubious interpretation of copyright laws.  Whole runs of defunct favourite magazines of the past like Zzap! 64 and Smash Hits, abandoned software runnable in the browser and other dead media like this VHS vault.  Look at this beautiful 1907 volume about Liverpool or biography of Shakespeare by Sir Walter Raleigh.  This collective effort to preserve our cultural history must be protected.

All The Stations.

Bit of a late entry but also proof that sometimes YouTube's algorithms are a good thing.  In 2017, Geoff Marshall and Vicki Pipe spent the summer visiting all of the Network Rail stations across Great Britain, funded by Kickstarter and producing four or five videos a week about the trip.  In October this year, I binged the lot, watching them travel the length and breadth of the country and showing that the railways are one of our most important resources and need to be protected and expanded.  Informative, funny and often poignant, this is top-end comfort viewing thanks to Vicki and Geoff's genial company and a general sense that so long as we can get around, it'll be all right in the end [visit].

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