The tricks to make yourself effortlessly charming.

Life This old BBC article from 2017 bubbled up to the surface of my pocket recommendations and although some of it feels like hogwash, I did find myself nodding along with swathes. The key problem I've seen is when your attempts at charm click over into creepiness. When someone is asking just too many questions and getting just a little bit too close, causing your skin to crawl.  Although that's obviously become less of a problem lately.
[Related: ‘Remember to smile with your eyes’: how to stay safe and look great in a face mask.]


Social Media The Empojipedia is a Rosetta stone of digital symbolic communication, showing how various software companies has bent their house style around various emojis. For things like "grinning face" the variations aren't too huge, but the more complex the picture being communication, the greater the variance. This array of unicorns. These athletes. A housing estate.

Drawing speed.

Art Local Liverpool artist Colette Lilley has opened a YouTube channel to showcase her skills through time-lapse photography. Her introductory video is above and you can visit the channel here.  Incredible.

"Who is the most-famous person you have a photo with?"

Life This tweet meme has been knocking around for a few days and I haven't had an answer. As a rule, I've tended to avoid meeting people of note on the basis that I like not knowing if they're a div or not. It's one of the reasons I've also sworn off Doctor Who conventions and watching most celebrity interviews unless they're on-point.

There is a shot from Speke Carnival in the late 70s of the baby version of me and Buzby, British Telecom's big yellow marketing bird, but that probably doesn't count, but the closest I could think of is this, taken by a security guard at the BBC's New Broadcasting House a couple of years ago when you could still just wander into reception off the street:

The t-shirt was entirely coincidental.  Does an inanimate object count if its portrayed as being somewhat sentient in a television programme?  Probably not, but at least it can't disappoint you in real life.

"Why couldn't it be that day?"

Film 'The world is in a state of turmoil': why time-loop movies resonate in 2020. Short piece from The Guardian about how time loop movies resonate in the current situation, which talks the screenwriters and directors of all the greats, like Groundhog Day, Happy Death Day and See You Tomorrow. When I first brought an Alexa, I set it to wake me up with I've Got You Babe. That stopped being funny relatively quickly.

Richard II in New York.

Theatre Because Shakespeare in the Park is cancelled this year, WNYC in New Tork have recorded a radio version and it's available to download here. Cast includes Lupita Nyong’o, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Merritt Janson and Phylicia Rashad.

Romola on Directing.

Film It would be remiss of me not to notice that while Romola Garai waits to play the fourteenth Doctor (or whatever - who knows how many incarnations there have been at this point), she's been directing a horror film, the really creepy trailer for which is above. Here's a short interview with Romola about directing with a "you don't look like the type who's into horror films" guy:

The film was at Sundance, so there are plenty of interviews and panels around.

Leonard Maltin!

Also a few written interviews:

Sundance 2020 Interview: Romola Garai on the Horrors You Can’t Shake with “Amulet”

‘Amulet’ Filmmakers Reveal the Secrets of Blood Effects: You Blow Into a Tube

‘Amulet’ Helmer Romola Garai Was Inspired By The Move Of “Female Filmmakers Into The Genre Space” – Sundance Studio

Sundance 2020 Women Directors: Meet Romola Garai – “Amulet”

From Dirty Dancing 2 To Director — Romola Garai’s Horror Movie Is Headed To Sundance

Eye roll on the final headline.  Not that I'm watching or reading any of them right now - I'll wait until after I've seen the thing.  But wow, this is really quite something.

Be Kind Rewind.

Video  Few YouTube channels come nicher than Be Kind Rewind which investigates the winners of the best actress categories at the Oscars, using this moment of success to talk about the film making business at that time, why the particular actress may have won that award, gender politics and race and a whole lot more besides.

BKR only posts once a month. These are authored, researched essays.  But I've learnt more about film history from these videos than many other sources.  Plus its great for seeing clips of films which time has forgotten.  Her most recent video is the longest yet, about the "feud" between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, debunking Ryan Murphy's tv series as a sham and lies.