Saturday, June 30, 2007

Doctor Who

More later, but for now the one word on the last episode is disappointing . After a generally tight ship this season Russell T Davies chokes at the last minute. Was there anyone who, once they saw the words 'One Year Later', was truly surprised by the denouement?


I can’t decide if I hate this government more for invading Iraq or for stopping me from smoking when I go out of an evening.

This is because you're an idiot Liddle.

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Slightly crap robots at play in a Robotarium in Portugal, versus genuine new life forms 'within months'.

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Tremble puny humans, your God/dess is angry. Oh yes in fuck she is.

So I awoke, as is the fashion, and had spent a while rereading my Phonogram issues (I was surprised to realise there was a scene about halfway through that I'd forgotten, thus rendering half of the climax unintelligible, so it was nice to read that as though new, and get a whole new appreciation for the last chapter). In a pleasant frame of mind I turned on my computer and connected to the Webternets to see if there were any developments in the cretins trying to detonate parts of London story.

But then there's this, the latest salvo in the Daily Mail War Against Muslims (Well, Anyone Whose Family Hasn't Been Living in the UK for About Five Hundred Years Really). The article, magistrate walks out in the middle of a court case because the defendant was wearing a niqab. In the case of the teaching assistant last year I personally felt that wearing a niqab when you're supposed to be helping kids to learn to read wasn't particularly helpful but that's not the case here. It's the comments on this article that really got my goat, full of unhidden racism and blatant stupidity, such as Mike from Cyprus who asks how can [The Magistrate] be sure it is the defendant under the veil. Or Fred James who, I can reveal, is mistaken when he says No-one wearing a mask would be allowed in court so what's the difference? I thought we lived in a Christian country but perhaps I was mistaken?

I hope all these shits had really big plans for today which have been ruined by the heavy rain.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Up is down, left is right, and the world's political leaders are considering giving a warmonger the job of bringing peace to the Middle-East.

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Tory MP Quentin Davies defects to Labour, though as his letter seems to be entirely about how much he dislikes David Cameron and the direction he's taking the Conservative party in I'm not sure if it's good political sense for Gordon Brown to welcome Mr Davies aboard, does New New Labour really want to be associated with Old Toryism?

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Next time you are kidnapped by aliens and forced to stand trial on behalf of all humankind for it's many iniquities, you'll be wanting this as exhibit A for why we, as a species, are capable of ace-ness.

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For Siobhan, If Second Life Were Real Life. [via Linkmachinego]

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Monday, June 25, 2007

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Apologise to the Independent Newspaper, it's editor and staff, for his ill-judged comments.

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The C Word

If London graffiti is anything to go by, the new insult to use against someone you don't like is to call them a 'Chief'. I like to imagine this derivation being from the Kaiser Chiefs who, other than having a lead singer that is almost attractive if you can persuade the little oik to have a wash, are one of the most aggravating examples of musical pondlife around at present.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Adipositivity Project aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality. The sort that's normally unseen. The hope is to widen definitions of physical beauty. Literally.

I'm torn whether to continue Nirpal Dhaliwal watch now he and Liz Jones have split up. I'm way behind in my keeping up anyway, but in the meantime another outing for that photo of Liz Jones with a horse and the news that she will now refer to Nirps as 'the Fat Sportswear-Clad Nobody'.

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[via Pandagon]

Also, it has not escaped my attention that I've been tagged. Bit busy at the moment, I'll get back to you on this one.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Madeleine McCann's parents may release charity single. Oh fuck off . Elsewhere though, it is gratifying to see that an increasingly large number of people are getting involved in increasingly surreal Maddy-related activities that are arse-all to do with finding the poor girl. In Afghanistan, campaigners will fly 50 kites emblazoned with pictures of the missing four-year-old, a report on the FindMadeleine website said. And in California, 50 white doves will be released.

Jesus, things must be bad if you've got people in Afghanistan sorry for you. Presumably next up will be Osama Bin Ladin releasing a video message asking anyone who knows anything about what happened to Madeleine to get in touch with her godless infidel parents. But there's adverts in cinemas now, voiced by Judge Judy Dench, asking for people with information to get in touch. Might I suggest that the McCann's see if they can get a part in the next series of C.S.I. Miami because Horatio Caine is ace at finding kiddies.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Found myself at London Bridge at lunchtime, so popped into Borough Market to get the constituent parts of lunch, then strolled along the South Bank. Passed Billie Piper doing more Belle Du Jour filming in her Belle Du Jour coat by the National Film Theatre, then finally went to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3 which was certainly fun but suffered from a middle section the point of which seemed to be to have people change allegiance amongst themselves regardless of reason. The climactic battle scene was well-staged.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

If, like me, you can't even touch your toes, then this video of an incredibly flexible woman might make you wince. She doesn't appear to have a bone in her body, I'm sure you're not supposed to be able to bend like that.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Minister says ID Cards will become 'a great British institution'. Yeah, just like (insert your own three large long-term failures here).

Sorry, I know you're expecting incisive political comment but I'm choking up over the news that Bernard Manning has died. No, wait, not 'choked up', what's the word what's the word? Oh, that's right, 'celebrating'. Marcus Brigstocke sums it up nicely. Farewell you evil, bigoted, racist fuck.

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Flushed bra causes sewer collapse.

Northumbrian Water said the underwear was flushed down a toilet and caused a blockage in a sewage pipe in Middleton-St-George, near Darlington. Heavy rain, together with a build up of grease and fat, caused the pipe to burst and the road above to collapse.

... Which makes you wonder what the owner of the bra was doing with it before she/he flushed it.


Saturday, June 16, 2007

Jack, I'm Only Dancing...

Fifteen minutes left until the return of the Real Captain Jack. Let's hope he's got over the grump that being stuck in early-21st century Cardiff gave him...

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What Would You Buy Blair?

Cabinet ministers are putting in £80 each. You only have to spend a tenner.

According to morning newspaper reports cabinet secretary Gus O'Donnell is organising a whip round for the departing Tony Blair and John Prescott.

It begs the inevitable question:

What would you buy the soon-to-be former prime minister?

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We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ignore the petition to repeal the hunting act 2004.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to urge the BBC not to use DRM or propriety formats, but to instead use free formats.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Ban the use of private 4x4 vehicles in urban environments.

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Scientists work out what Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water' sounds like if heard on other planets in the galaxy. As you would.

And a different type of space gun, one used to launch satellites into space and cargo for the prospective moon base has also been suggested.

[via New Scientist's Space Blog]

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Elisabeth Lee was Tryed for Robbing one John Veale in the King's High-way, a Child about the Age of five Years, in Stepney Parish, on the 13th of May of a Rasey Stuff Coat, value 5 s. The Child happening to straggle abroad alone into the Fields, the Prisoner met him, and stript him; and one who went to seek the Child, met the Prisoner, and saw the Child's Coat under her Apron, which she knew very well; The Fact was plainly proved, so she was found Guilty .

She was sentenced to transportation, which is just typical of these namby-pamby pinko judges, why do we pay our taxes, you can't step out of your own front door without being Robbed by Varlets.

The proceedings of the Old Bailey, London 1674 to 1834. Great fun for dipping into.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Headed towards the delightful Swiss Cottage yesterday in order to find an afternoon showing of Taking Liberties. Described by lazy people as 'a British Fahrenheit 9-11' it took us through the steps the British Government has taken, mainly since the 11th of September 2001 to create not exactly a fascist state, but a state in which anyone, including fascists, will find it gratifyingly easy to shut down any form of dissent or disobedience. We are taken through the UN human rights declaration and shown how Tony Blair, David Blunkett and John Reid have been ever so busy chiselling away the rights we were given, taking away the right to demonstrate while telling us we lived in a free country characterised by... our right to demonstrate. Mark Thomas and the Mass Lone Demos got a look-in, as did Rachel and the 7/7 bomb survivors. The demonstrations in Brighton against EDO showed the malevolence of the police, as did the War Against Terror attacking Asians in Forest Gate or Guantanamo.

This film is not a hysterical lefty polemic against authority. It's a calm, measured and sometimes bleakly funny reminder of what we have lost, taken by those that would claim that in doing so they are saving us from fanatics. Check the website, if you can find a showing you can attend it's well worth a few hours from your life to watch this film and let it anger up the blood. It also suggests some easy, low-impact ways you can start to help the fight back, some of which I intend to follow myself.

I'm currently reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, which I'm finding a rather annoying read. Pitched somewhere between Frankenstein and The Omen a middle-aged woman reminisces in letters to her estranged and, I suspect, possibly dead ex-husband about her life and the upbringing of her son, Kevin. From the moment of conception he's been a little bastard causing misery and pain to all around him and somehow his mother puts up with him long enough for him to reach his teenage years and shoot up a classroom of kids at his school.

The language the mother character uses is ridiculous but thankfully calms down after a few chapters and resembles English as used by real human beings. I suspect that this book is supposed to be read by people who don't believe that children can be malevolent creatures when it suits them, it's a horror story for middle-class yummy mummys to read while their little darlings are wrapped up in bed. While Daddy is away at work all day Mummy has to put up with Kevin and his permanent malicious behaviour, Daddy minimises every single act of bad behaviour and blames Mummy for overreacting, even when Kevin starts causing injuries to other people. I've just got past the midway point in the novel and Mummy is now pregnant with baby number two. She's a lot more positive about this child and Daddy is not happy, so I expect a hundred pages of Daddy regarding the girl child as the very spawn of Satan's loins. Sadly we know already from the text that we aren't going to have both children fighting on the Golden Gate Bridge with the fate of humanity in the balance, which is the sort of level this story is going for.

I'm not anticipating the second half of this book being the part that shows me why this book won the Orange Prize several years back.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Torrent Raiders. BitTorrenting visualised like Elite. (YouTube demo here) [via Information Aesthetics]

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Oh fuck off, fuck off, fuck off! What fucked-up focus group was it that has encouraged New Labour to so blatantly play to the racists in the audience? And this latest idiotic idea from Ruth Kelly? Where is the proof that sharing a common language affects integration? Where would be the safeguards to make sure that this doesn't just ghettoise vulnerable people in our country even more? Where is the proof that immigrants were going around saying "Hurrah! This country's ridiculously helpful translation services mean I never have to bother learning the language!"*? Never mind that English speakers have historically tended not to make as much of an effort learning foreign languages as they have learning ours.

*And if you are a lazy immigrant intended to use translation services rather than learn English I'd suggest that you don't come to Barnet, as the council closed the service entirely a few years back to save money.

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Don't Blink...

Crikey but Doctor Who was scary! Good stuff! Of course, some of us recall a time when the statues could move and were equally psychopathic and bad tempered, go Bok!


Friday, June 08, 2007

Japanese lesbian art (Mostly SFW). Quite endearing really. [via Sexblogs]

Your ring-finger length, now not just for telling whether you're a lesbian! [via Developing Intelligence]

Selfkiss. A French art website about people snogging themselves (SFW). [via Wired]

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Bob Geldof tells Blair: "You've fucked with me for the last time!"

Yes, several years after everyone else in the world, Geldof and Bono realise the G8 were taking the piss two years ago when they spoke of sorting out third world hunger, if only they'd realised that before subjecting us to unnecessary Coldplay in Hyde Park two years ago. I should point out that the linked BBC report is coy about Bob's swearing, which was especially funny.

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After the first five episodes of the third series of Doctor Who we had The Lazarus Experiment in which a scientist has created a machine that will allow him to stay forever young and cheat death. Typically it's all gone wrong and, while the Doctor has that awkward first meeting with the mother of the young lady he's been running around space and time with. She isn't too impressed with him, even less so when The Bad Wol- ahem, Torchwo- I beg your pardon, someone working on behalf of Mr Saxon whispers something in her ear. This is a real by-the-numbers episode , while Mark Gatiss does what he can to try and make his Professor Lazarus more than just a one-dimensional monster he can't stop the special effects bods from turning him into a one-dimensional monster. It's also not a very convincing one-dimensional monster , possibly due to the decision to keep Mark Gatiss's face on it's head. Sadly this makes it look like something out of Quake or Unreal. It does give airtime to some of Martha's family, including her younger sister. As she seems to work as a PA I wonder if it's her, rather than her mother, that will be standing closest to the mysterious Mr Saxon come the end of the season.

Forty Two just didn't interest me. The Doctor and Martha end up on a spaceship that is diving into a sun within three quarters of an hour. The idea is that the story runs in real-time as they struggle to repair the ship and discover what exactly went wrong, while an unhinged crew-member goes around singeing everyone with his eyebeams. Possibly because it looks similar to the much better Satan Pit two=parter from last year, possibly because the script sacrifices building the characters in favour of clever-clever moments and ACTION! this episode is a big yawn. There's a lovely moment when Martha is in an escape pod which is accidentally fired towards the sun and the Doctor watches aghast, and Martha is put in a situation where she has to save the Doctor's life again but it's eminently missable.

This is followed by another two parter, Human Nature and The Family of Blood . This is possibly not only the best story in this season but maybe the best story in new Who or on television in the last few years. Chased by time-travelling bounty-hunters who want his 'precious bodily fluids' the Doctor lands the TARDIS in a pre-First World War English boarding school, using a previously unseen device which rewrites his DNA and wipes his memory, making him think he is a normal human school teacher, John Smith. Martha works as a maid in the school, waiting for enough time to pass so that their pursuers die of accelerated old age and then getting Smith to open his old pocket-watch and restore him to Doctor-hood. Unfortunately things don't go quite to plan. Yay! The bounty-hunters arrive and, being discarnate energy beings, take control of a quartet of humans and create walking scarecrows, as you do. Meanwhile John Smith finds himself falling in love with the school nurse Joan Redfern and the pocketwatch goes missing, stolen by a strange psychic little boy. When Smith doesn't want to believe he's an alien Martha has to keep him alive and out of the hands of the Family of Blood, find the pocketwatch then persuade Smith to sacrifice his life in order to allow the Doctor to return.

The prospect of the Doctor not being the Doctor did not initially excite me, the story emphasises character over action and at first I wasn't that interested in the Doctor falling in love. But there is real effort made to show that John Smith is not the Doctor so that by the end of the first episode I was won over. Then, in the second episode, the dilemma is not how to get the Doctor back but whether John Smith is willing to give up his life to let someone who sounds like a monster (and this is one of those Dark Doctor episodes) back into the world. The cast are all superb, but David Tennant, Jessica 'Spaced' Hynes and Freema Agyeman are great, as is Harry Lloyd as the 'son' of the Family, a by-turns charming yet utterly alien killing machine. By the time the Doctor returns it's more a tragedy than a triumph, the Doctor's involvement in events has caused the deaths of so many innocent people, but they rarely have to die to allow him to arrive in the first place. Tennant's body language as the Doctor, John Smith and the-Doctor-pretending-to-be-John-Smith are all individual and distinct. And the final scene where Nurse Joan meets the Doctor is a masterclass in emotional acting from the heart, while the Doctor can do no more than offer Joan the chance to travel the universe in the TARDIS with him she never makes it clear that she struggles to tell the difference between the Family of Blood (aliens that take the place of humans and dispatch their enemies without mercy) and the Doctor (alien that... you can guess the rest). Wonderful stuff.

Tomorrow it'll be Blink, the extra episode which the regulars don't get to be in it because of scheduling (only the BBC would give a show an extra episode each year but no time to make it).

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

I don't need their fucking shit

I've got a cold and a head full of cloud, so just more videos today...

Brothers and sisters, let's go!

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Parting of Wai? No wai! [via Miss K]

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I can persuade George Bush on climate change says Blair
. Yes, because Shrubya obviously holds you in high regard and is amenable to persuasion. If Bush has changed his mind it'll be because he wants to do it, not because of you 'Yo' Blair.

PC brigade ban pin-ups on RAF jets - in case they offend women and Muslims. Cue usual catcalls of 'it's political correctness gone mad', 'how do I apply to leave this country', 'I'm a woman and I don't find this offensive therefore my opinion can be taken to count for all women and Muslims in the UK' and so on. Sadly my suggestion that these pictures get banned not because they are offensive but because they are tacky and have we suddenly started employing fourteen year olds to fly planes who feel a desperate need to plaster the softest of soft-core pron over their aircraft has not made it past the Daily Mail censors. Not that, surely, is political incorrectness gone maaaaaad?

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Three Links



Taking Liberties.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Excuse me while I have a professional moment.

New Arizona Library drops Dewey decimal cataloguing scheme.

Yep, it's another library that has got confused and thinks it's a bookshop. Everything will be arranged within sections, then subsections. I wish them well, but it won't solve the perceived problem, that library users can't find books. The problem in full is actually this: 'Library users can't find books, and are too scared to ask staff for help'. This reordering of books isn't foolproof, it won't help the scared people, it's not dumping THE cataloguing system it's dumping A cataloguing system. Of course, as library guy I'm biased, but by using a cataloguing system it at least meant that of the higher proportion of library users who are either not stupid or not afraid to ask library staff for help, there was at least one member of that staff/public team who should know where the book is without needing to have experience working in that library. (I've moved from one workplace that just ordered it's non-fiction by Dewey to one that organises it's books by subject areas and then Dewey within those subject areas. This takes staff longer to acclimatise to because you now have to know your way around the stock by heart, it doesn't help the public that much because presumably the numbers frighten them all away. In my old workplace I could go and start work at any library and, as long as I knew where the non-fiction started I could start looking for books straight away, now each time I'm somewhere new I have to spend some time working out where all the different sections are. Plus I have to look at the catalogue each single time to see which subject section a book is filed in.) If you've been told to get a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and you don't know what it's about and you don't want to ask a member of staff, is this subject ordering really going to help much?

Oh, and I've tried visiting bookshops. Obviously I'm biased, but it takes bookshop staff longer to find the place on the shelf where the book should be than it takes library staff to do the same because with Dewey we can tell exactly where it should be. And people are actually still asking for help finding books in bookshops, which rather suggests it's not an ideal solution to those people trying to solve the difficulties of finding what one wants from one's local library.

This seems to be pandering to those people who think they should be able to sail through life without any intellectual engagement at any stage whatsoever. And those people can't be pleased.


Diamond Geezer has visited the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway which appears to have changed little in the twenty odd years since I rode on it as we holidayed in this area each year.

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The LOLcky Horror Picture Show

Genius! (NSFW)

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