Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A man who terrified a generation has passed on... Michael 'Mr Bronson' Sheard has died aged 65.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cumming- The Perfume. Dear God, this is going to affect who finds this blog... Completely worksafe by the way.
[via b3ta]

Monday, August 29, 2005

I thought the first Messiah was quite good. But since then it's been on a severely decreasing return. The last Messiah was crap except for the relationship between the characters of DCI Metcalf and his deaf wife, who's name I can't recall but was played by the extremely underused Michelle Forbes (wonderful as Miranda Zero in the Global Frequency pilot). Messiah 4 doesn't have that and is nothing more than brutality porn. It leaves far too little to the imagination and is precisely the kind of show that Alan Moore complained about, before and after writing From Hell. This is not art. This is not a masterwork. This is pornography. And not very good pornography at that.

Damn The Independent on Sunday. Over the last two weeks they've got me convinced that everyone I know and love is going to catch Avian Bird Flu and die. So, in case I forget later:

Take care of yourselves and for God's sake,


In mundania, my DVD-recorder is weird. Tell it to start recording and sometimes it will. Sometimes it starts recording but with a picture delay so you see what it recorded a second or two ago. This is okay, but when I'm recording something from my Sky+box and fast forwarding through the commerical break this delay gets even more pronounced. Similarly, when I high-speed dub something to a DVD, if it's three episodes of something, sometimes it'll do it in 18 minutes, sometimes, like today, for some reason it's saying it'll take about 96 minutes. I have no idea why.

Bloody hell, it must be a very slow news day, BBC News 24 are resorting every hour to getting a different weatherperson to come to the studio to explain to stupid people what a hurricane is.

Of course, I'm only sitting at home watching this crap because all my little friends seem to have fled the capital for the weekend, probably because of the Notting Hill Carnival.

I am truly a master of setting arbitrary targets for myself. Thusly, I shall cut the remains of sugar from my diet by stopping eating sweets after my birthday. My birthday is Wednesday. Let's see how many excuses I can find to eat sweets today and tomorrow shall we kids. I'm off the shops for a paper... and some Sour Skittles.

If Destroyed, Still True. An excellent review site.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Today I've been mostly watching the cricket. Considering their first innings total of four hundred and something, England should have had no problem reaching a target of one hundred and twenty nine but spent the entire afternoon making us think they were going to snatch defeat, both Test and series, from the jaws of victory. With four of their batsman out by the halfway point they looked doomed, then Flintoff lead a recovery, then with less than twenty runs to go we lost a few more wickets until finally we got those last few. At the moment I'm telling myself that it doesn't matter what the result of the last Test is, the important thing is that the Aussies can't win the Ashes, they can only at best draw. But this has been an amazing series.

I've always liked cricket more than football. Let me put it this way, I've willingly gone to cricket matches. Even tried scoring the for a while, Dad gave me his schoolboy record book, but I found it too difficult to watch both game and book, and gave up when I found myself asking every other ball what had happened. Although I've moved away I'm still a Kent supporter at heart, at league level. They are somehow both top and bottom of two different leagues, which I don't quite understand.

However, back to the Ashes. When exactly did the Australians get Gollum to be their wicket-keeper?

The Asheseses, my precious!

Come on Shauney!

Although this is wrong in some many ways:

via some French site.

For Flyboy, I give you, Mike Skinner:

Fit and you knows it, oh yes precious
via Chris Hillcoat.

But elsewhere, City of Sound mentioned New London Architecture. I really need to see this. Lucky I've got some free time at the end of the week.

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from Spell with Flickr.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Man, The Terrorists Win At Everything.

Fun thing I'm reading this morning: A Librarian's Guide to Etiquette.

Do not doubt the extraordinary powers of your library's patrons. For example, if a patron declines the offer of a pencil to write down a call number because he has "a photographic memory," it is not polite to ask, "Seriously?! I've never met anyone who actually has a real photographic memory." It is also impolite to laugh wholeheartedly when -- ten minutes later -- the same patron emerges from the stacks without the book, returns to reference desk, and asks for a pencil.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Going to other libraries 'on relief' is much like a first day at a new school, you don't know anyone, you don't know where the toilets are and you can't wait for playtime so you can go and run around outside.

This was my first time back at The Greenhouse since the Reopened Library reopened. When it was still closed and I was working at The Posh Library I was regularly going to the Greenhouse, my working Saturdays at the least. But coming back to it for the first time in around almost a year is almost like going somewhere new, only it isn't. Going there today I realised how bad things can be there, how dull. If the library was in some nice middle-class area then it would probably be closed down because the issues must be very low. I had to do some shelf-tidying in the non-fiction, that didn't take much effort because I was just running my eye along the

(Gah, my Dad has just phoned, ruining my train of thought. I've told my parents that I use the answerphone to screen my calls, the silly sod phoned and then didn't say anything after the tone, so I thought it was an automated phonebot.)

shelf, there was little work that needed to be done because the books were in the right order. Probably from the last time the shelves were tidied, a month or two ago. The non-fiction doesn't go out much here. The only reason this library stays open is because it's in the middle of a big council estate which is probably an area of social deprivation, so we're doing a social good, despite the fact that people only really come in to read the papers, take out the odd video and use our computers. Really the only sensible thing to do would be to rip out the non-fiction and replace the space with computers. That's what the people on this estate seem to want from a library. Definitely not books.

When you work at a big library you can get away from people but the Greenhouse doesn't have much space, so the only time you can get away from the other staff is at lunchtime if you sit down the other end of the library. It does tend to make me rather short-tempered, being stuck there all day. I have to work there again on Saturday. At least after that I'm on holiday for a week while I do my birthday.

Obese woman files complaint about doctor telling her she's overweight and endangering her health.

The Baby Boomers are killing this country. I'd be willing in the same half-serious tone to enlarge it to 'The Baby Boomers are killing western culture' as it has a knock-on effect on the culture of this country too. (My parents are a few years too young to be boomers, phew!)

If you can't remember the Sixties you're extremely fortunate. All age groups think the time when they were young was the best (witness the witless 'Britpop-ten years on' stuff in the media this summer, ten years on from a music form that was largely looking back again to that sixties neverland) but if it wasn't for the sheer number of people for whom the Sixties were their best day then we wouldn't have it held up as some divine truth that it was somehow better to be alive then than any time since.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

We had the meeting of our Library Book Group this evening. I'd persuaded them to read Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. One woman said "I've just read The Da Vinci Code... I read Northern Lights and I don't normally like fantasy because you have to suspend your disbelief so much..." Obviously another person who thinks The Da Vinci Code is cold, hard reportage.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

John Adams piece in commemoration of the events of 11th September 2001, On The Transmigration of Souls, received it's British premiere at The Proms last year. The CD of the piece wasn't then released until September that year, and we haven't got it into the library until last week. It is beautiful and terrifying, elegiac and remorseless. It starts gently, with the orchestra playing, but then there's the introduction of sound textures, including voices. A child emotionlessly repeats the word "missing", missing... missing... missing, then adult voices join him, reading the names, missing... Joseph W. Flounders... missing... Helen D. Kirk... missing, reportage creeps in with voices speaking or the choir singing, I see water and buildings... You will never be forgotten..., like the engines on a plane. Then, ten minutes in, the first crescendo. A moment of supreme spiritual terror, I want to look away, then realise I can't turn from the minds eye, I can't block it out. Is this it? Was this the moment when the planes crashed into the buildings? The music quietens, the choirs sing, scraps of phrases taken from newspaper reports after the events, a cushion of thought carrying these souls on. Then, second crescendo, this time with the choir as well. Anger, terror, pain, loss. The unquiet dead. Or perhaps, the pain and grief of the United States at this wounding, and the anger that calls for the blood of others to staunch the wound to the soul? And then, finally, the return to the elegy, the return of the names, but this time, no child calls out "missing", is this the roll-call at the gates to the afterlife, or are the living reclaiming the dead, that as long as we remember them the passengers on the planes are not dead, their killers miserable failures?

I watched The West Wing episode 'Isaac and Ishmael' again last night. These are two measured responses to the insanity that humanity does to itself, blind, deaf and amnesiac creature that it is. And, as one of the characters in The West Wing says, "Terrorism has a 100% failure rate in achieving it's objectives" and I wonder how many more 'memory spaces' must there be before mankind wakes up to at least this truth?

Go to the bookstore and locate its copies of George Orwell's 1984... It is probably currently incorrectly classified as "Fiction" or "Literature"... Discreetly move all copies of 1984 to a more suitable section, such as "Current Events", "Politics", "History", "True Crime", or "New Non-Fiction"... Our goal is to relocate one thousand nine hundred and eighty-four copies, and to complete successful reshelving of 1984 in all 50 United States. Global contributions are welcome.

After my sister got married a few weeks ago I'm pointing out
this article to her from the Guardian about how ghastly the whole thing is.

Where in the World is Tony Blair? Apparently he's in Barbados.

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's been a weird summer, weather-wise, this year. There's been a lot of rain, I would have thought enough to qualify as one of the wetter years on record, yet when it's been sunny and hot it's been very sunny and hot, like the really hot summer of two years ago. Yesterday: sunny, very hot. Today: rain, and I even had the central heating on low for a half-hour.

I'm no metreologist but I've decided to blame it on the United States. An extremely powerful cold-front of indignation from right-wing bloggers over the Cindy Sheehan affair has disrupted the gulf stream, which brings hot air to the U.K.

Or maybe the cold-blast was from DC Comics, who have ordered a gallery to take down homoerotic pictures of Batman by artist Mark Chamberlain, which can be seen here. I tend to think DC should just suffer in silence, these are, after all, fairly insipid pictures and don't deserve the boost being made notorious by DC would give them.

Mo Mowlam has died. First Robin Cook, now her. No official cause of death has been released yet, but I would suspect that part of the reason might be that she didn't hate people enough, as that can be the only reason vile Norman Tebbit is still alive and still spouting crap about people. Look at that picture, haven't we seen him in Dawn of the Dead, or am I just mixing that up with Thatcher's early eighties cabinet?

People seem to be worryingly quick to demand Met police commissioner Sir Ian Blair (no relation) resigns over the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, despite the fact that many questions remain, the most obvious one being: "How much did the team that shot him lie about him?", what with leaked information showing he wasn't wearing a heavy jacket with wires coming out of it and he didn't jump the ticket barrier. And the Met have immediately started looking for who leaked the information to the press on Wednesday, whereas they took five days to start the investigation into the shooting of de Menezes because they didn't want it to compromise their investigation into the bombings on the tube. Obviously a month later they've fortunately got some spare time to look for a whistleblower.

But anyway, the point is that we have to wait for the complaints inquiry. When Sir Ian made his first statements about the shooting of de Menezes he did say that what he said was based on what he believed at the time and it's the media as much as Sir Ian that shares the blame if the story wasn't set right afterwards. If the inquiry reveals a cover-up then a full public inquiry should be held and if it's revealed that the Met has failed in it's duty to the public that's when there should be calls for him to resign.

But at the same time, the scraping sound of ranks being closed at the Met can be heard across London. Last time that police shot an innocent person not only were there reports leaked to the media to make it seem that he was some sort of insane gun-toting maniac which then turned out to be completely wrong but the police were most indignant about people thinking it was wrong that they should be able to kill people with impunity. As we've seen already in the last four years, The War Against Terror means never having to do anything to prove you're sorry.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ron Weasley and the Ewok Invasion.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Court Ruling Paves Way for Men to Wear Dresses to Work, Group Says. See, that's what I like about my work, I don't need a court ruling to let me wear a dress to work...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

This week's episode of Boston Legal was 'Let Sales Ring'. Far be it from me to suggest an ABC show had waaaay too much fun writing a storyline to attack Fox News into their script.

Monday, August 15, 2005

If you were someone who was preparing to go into seclusion and the day that you were doing so was the day the Government announced the downgrading of cannabis then, based on the facts rather than prejudice, you'd probably think it was okay. The evidence, the doctors and the police all seemed to agree that it was harmless and it was a sensible thing to do. If you'd come out of seclusion at that time you might wonder how the Government could countenance doing something so crazy, the scientific studies now all say you turn into the Incredible Hulk, police think it's a menace to society and a gateway drug and doctors can't cope with the numbers of addicts turning up in their surgeries. Odd that.

And now the same thing seems to be happening with the Government's plans to scrap the limits on how long pubs could open. Before they announced it everyone and police seemed to think it was a great idea, now it's a proposal there's no-one, except for the companies that open the pubs, that has a good word for it, and police are warning that it's lead to an increase in violence and vomiting, presumably on the grounds that people who drink too slowly will now have a couple more hours to drink and so reach the required state of lairyness in order to want to ruck. But where were all these naysayers in the consultation period. New Labour are big on law and order. I find it hard to believe that whereas they follow the police line on most other issues, if the police had said then "we don't think this is a good idea", they would have said "Fark off, Charlie Clarke and John Prescott want to push this through so they can go out on the piss after a hard day abolishing civil liberties!"

Friday, August 12, 2005

This one was mentioned a few years back then, once it started going round all the blogs and emails someone, presumably at the record company found out and the creators had to take it down, but it's back up now. A lovely little animation based around an acoustic version of Radiohead's Creep found at Monkeehub.

How to tell if your male children are Teh Gay:

1. A strong feeling that they are “different” from other boys.

Isn't this normal for lads?

2. A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.

Yes, a desire not to get my arm broken on the rugby pitch was what started me on my sordid path to bisexuality...

3. A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play.

Oh dear... You don't think he's confusing-

4. A strong preference to spend time in the company of girls and participate in their games and other pastimes.

Oh dear oh dear... He is confusing, isn't he? See question 7.

5. A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them “queer,” “fag” and “gay.”

So hang on. One of the signs your kid is gay is that other kids call them a 'faggot'? I hate to point this out but shouting something doesn't make it so, otherwise Tony Tony Tony! would have been Out Out Out! of office several years ago.

6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.


7. A repeatedly stated desire to be — or insistence that he is — a girl.

Nonono, you see, what you have there is a transsexual. But don't worry, you can still cause them psychological trauma and beat them up for being sissies.

'What Do We Know About Homosexuality' is less funny however.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Here, have some cute:

I've been neglecting you haven't I? I'm sorry darlings, I know it must have been difficult, thinking for yourself, but I'm here again. Coming up sometime soon, my thoughts on trannies, when I've worked out what they are, but in the meantime: LCD Soundsystem: LCD Soundsystem. Music for people who don't like music? A bunch of sub-Mark E. Smith vocalising over some truly tepid instrumentation except on Great Release, which proves that, if they put some effort in, they could sound kinda like Spiritualized's younger brothers, not great but it would at least be a move up from where they are now. Come on somebody, explain to me why the album isn't crap.

The Go! Team: Thunder, Lightning Strike. Crap album title, great contents. I suspect that in a few years all the tracks will be overused on commercials and whatever that seasons 2 Pints of Lager clone is to make it seem him, we'll curse The Go! Team for existing, which is why I intend to play this as much as possible now while I still enjoy it.

Battlestar Galactica Season 2: How does this show get made? By all rights it shouldn't, plot strands take their time and sometimes go all over the place (see Helo and Boomer on Caprica), we're in the second season and I think it's still less than half a year since the Cylons destroyed the commonwealth of planets (having a series where several episodes can comprise only one day is new), and the scripts are intelligent if at times somewhat ponderous with it, so how does Galactica continue? By being very, very good. I've seen the first two episodes and they are very, very good. None of what was let loose in the last episode of the last season is ignored, if it's brushed over that's very much with the knowledge that we'll be coming back to it later.

Interesting things? After shooting Adama Boomer doesn't seem to know what's going on. She doesn't appear to know she shot him, though she seems to have grasped the fact by the time she's locked up. This may be a sign to how the deep cover Cylon operatives work and a sign to how the humans can fight back, if they can bypass the Cylon nature of a clone they might have a Boomer on their side. On the other hand, their Cylon expert is the hopelessly compromised Dr Baltar, who Six is now trying to turn completely against the humans by playing on his oddly emerged paternalistic feeling towards a child that Six has convinced him she's carrying. Commander Bill Adama? Still at deaths door.

The first episode gives us some welcome time to finally get to know Colonel Tigh, both as he struggles with a command he doesn't want and fears will be his permanently if Adama snuffs it, and also from years back when his career looked to be almost up. He didn't really get much of a fair shake in the first season as well as being saddled with an extremely annoying wife (who I personally hope will turn out to be a Cylon agent and there will be a special episode with nothing happening except it being slowly pulled apart by diggers) and so this is his big chance. The issue of Lee's treachery last season is one of the matters put on hold, with Starbuck stuck on Caprica we need someone we recognise running around.

And the first two episodes should keep action fans happy, a very large fuck-off battle with a Cylon fleet and then fun and games on Galactica as they fight real live honest-to-God Cylons. The only problem with suggesting this may be the best thing on television right now is that there's bugger all to compete with it. And it's not on television either, it's on my computer. But when it's on television (and why has no British terrestrial channel picked it up yet? I would have thought Channel 4 would be desperate for another intelligent science-fiction show that they could then trim and put out at a massively inappropriate time), it'll be the best thing on there. Unless it's up against Doctor Who. Then things could get messy, not least if I imagine a Dr Baltar/Captain Jack sandwich.

[via Battlestar Galactica 2003]

[via BBC's Doctor Who website]

Oh, and if there's any pictures of James Callis naked, you've got my email address...;-)

(note to self: Best not check the email at work for a few days, just in case)

Monday, August 08, 2005

When it comes to music Warren Ellis is the anti-John Peel, he champions unlistenable crap that when you listen to it, when you really listen to it, is still unlistenable crap. But he's got to be right some time, and this is it. Check out The Heavenly Bodies.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Robin Cook dies. What on earth is going on? He was only 59 and in apparent good health. Mo Mowlam is seriously ill in hospital... Does Tony Blair have an alibi? Can we be sure he wasn't watching what happened in Ukraine last year and taking notes?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Kansas Schools Launch "Intelligent Design" Auto Mechanics Class.

The Kansas Board of Education has certified an "intelligent design" auto mechanics class that includes alternative theories about what makes cars run.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Shrubya signals support for theory that would surely not have brought him into existence if true.

Yeah yeah, file under: Shots, Cheap. But this surely means that evolution will be phased out of schools in America completely soon if something isn't done.

The government has admitted that it has been guilty of "overselling" the case for a compulsory national identity card scheme in Britain and conceded that it will not prove a panacea for fraud, terrorism or the abuse of public services.

And it seems the only thing the Government is now saying it'll do is be a 'gold standard' in proving someone's identity which, as no government has yet managed to make anything that is widespread which cannot be counterfeited, means it's pointless. The Government has pretty much admitted it's lost the argument on ID Cards. I don't know what it'll take to get them to give up before they waste all our money on it as well.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

... And I would just like to add that I was very disappointed when I clicked on this link: Thought it was going to be something else entirely...

Well, saw the last episode of Enterprise yesterday evening. Considering the dreck that made up a lot of Voyager, you have to wonder how bad Enterprise was doing to get cancelled. It's a little bit of a shame, the arc in season three with the threat of the Xindi about to destroy Earth was fairly satisfying and even exciting in some places, and some of the stories this season weren't too bad either, the advanced humans, the Vulcan story, the Klingons and Romulan arcs. But it was always difficult to care about what happened to any of the characters because they didn't really have any. And the last episode said it all, rope in some Next Generation cast in the hopes that'll improve things (and try to ignore the fact that Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis have noticeably aged in the fifteen or so years since the episode this refers to occured, why not set their story after the last Next Gen film?), keep it normal length and cut out most of the emotionally charged scenes in favour of the crew talking about what they'll do when they leave Enterprise. And considering they've been together for ten years they seem both blissfully untroubled when one of them dies and happy to move on, which sounds like being crew on Enterprise was as boring for them as it was for us watching.

More to my tastes was Hinterland by David Barnett (UK, US). It's a very English story of a small-town newspaper writer who finds his world suddenly twisting away from under him. He's visiting strange bars on streets that don't exist, finding identical pictures at houses that have burned to the ground, remembering and then forgetting encounters with feral women as a child. While the town is gripped up in the frenzy of an archetypal 'big cat on the loose' story he's finding his world contracting under the pressure of paranoid conspiracy theorists and strange black cars that seem to be ever-present around town.

It's a snappy little thing and well deserves to be turned into a film that somehow manages to miss the point.

Talking of which, I can only assume that Warner Brothers are, porbably rightly, completely convinced that everyone will be going to see Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire already so they can put out a really bad promo for it. From the five or so seconds you actually see from the movie it does look as though it'll be good, I'll be interested to see how they've cut the novel down to fit it in.

Mo Mowlam critically ill. Now if there was some way that we could swap her and Ian Paisley around then both the world and the prospects for Ireland would look a lot brighter...

The greatest terrorist in Northern Ireland. The Reverend Ian Paisley is doing his bit for Irish unrest and terrorism. It seems that now that the IRA have done what Paisley has said all along and disbanded, he's decided to move the goalposts again and say he'll never work in Government with them. Because that would presumably mean he'd have to make decisions about how things work and would risk loosing his camp at the top of the mountainous high ground he believes he sits at at the moment. This man has never done anything except say 'no' and by saying 'no'n now the message he's effectively sending to the IRA is 'why give up violence? That's not going to get you anywhere while Paisley is around? Why not go back to killing innocent people again?'

The other problem is that Paisley really wants to be part of the British Empire. He hasn't been able to grasp the concept that it doesn't exist any more. And if we were to give Northern Ireland back to the Irish, then Paisley and his friends will find out very quickly exactly what sacrifices they could actually make when their backs are against the wall.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

As I deal with the reserves my eye alights on Lion Boy by Zizou Corder. Maybe I'm not getting enough sleep but I find the tagline on this book hilarious: "He can speak Cat. But can he smell danger?" Because I don't know about you, but all my friends who 'speak Cat' have appalling nasal accuity. In fact, my sense of smell is half-broken from years of hayfever, but I can't speak pidgin Cat. Later editions of the book seem to have gone with the tag "Big secrets, big cats, big adventure" which, whilst bad English, at least makes a certain sense.

Next up: Why Noddy Goes to the Seaside is actually an allegory for the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In other news: Bush challenges London bombers to 'do their worst'- From America.

... or maybe he will. The plan is obvious, Blair is going to confuse us all completely as to whether he's coming or going so we don't notice he's actually staying put. Or is he?

Monday, August 01, 2005

"Give it to us, Deagol my love."
"Why should I?"
"Because it's our birthday my love and we wants it."
"I don't care, I've given you a present already. I found it and I'm going to keep it."
"Oh, are you indeed my love?"

Several hundred years living under a mountain, eating fish and composing riddles would be a small price to pay for my precious. Although when that thieving little hobbit turns up, we won't mess about and we'll throttle him straight away. Oh yes we will, my precious... gollum

... Or is there? (And damn the BBC for getting my hopes up with that convuluted headline, "He's quitting now?! Fantasti- oh, I see. Bugger!")

There's a light at the end of the tunnel... Tony Blair will stand down as an MP at the next general election, he has told his family and close political allies. Though, as his successor will probably be Gordon Brown, that light must just be an approaching train. Could be worse, the train could be David Blunkett, in which case it's one of those badly maintained nuclear trains that goes into the tunnel then explodes, spreading radioactive waste over a large area and despoiling the landscape for millenia.

Of course, any other Prime Minister would have dreamed of going down in history as the one on watch when the IRA announced an end to the war. But even the captured would-be bombers are saying the War in Iraq was what spurred them to try and commit terrorist acts, not religion.

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