Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I will catch up but...

... I've injured my foot so am hobbling at the mo. or rather am just sat at my desk scarcely able to move...

Not feeling very bloggy but do check out:

George's review of Regina Spektor
Marie's book cover preview (and the hysteria in the comments recently - now resolved but truly highlighting the need for a 'typeface for irony')

And of course everyone else whom I haven't time to list...

I'm really not up to concentrating on blogging. Sorry folks... full comments on the weekend, including that Joss Whedon encounter, to come. As well our a review of Tilly and the Wall who we saw last night before I tumbled (one glass of lemonade at the curry house: I was not drunk, just clumsy).

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Primeval caught up...

... scuba suit... HOT...

And the scenes with Juliet Aubrey: just the kind of acting I want to see from Mr Henshall.

Right, off for Recovery!

Weekend Highlight: I met Joss Whedon!!!

Mucho to report on a fabulous weekend away, but best of all was the chance opportunity to meet Mr Joss Whedon...

Yeah, I look a regular dork. Blurgh. But he was a sweetie!

Back and catch up

Thanks to people who offered about 3 days of the Condor - I will review the situation shortly!

We're back, and out tomorrow night seeing Tilly and the Wall...

... so bear with us!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Three Days of the Condor: Can anyone video this film on Saturday 24 Feb 2007 for me?

I mean, I'm good, but I'm not THAT good... I can't even stretch a 4 hour tapes sufficiently long for all the recording requirements of the weekend.

Typical. 3 Days isn't even on Region 2 DVD and for the first time in what feels like ages its actually ON TERRESTRIAL TV! ARGH!

So if any kind soul out there can rustle up a video recording both me and the lovely Cloud would be VERY grateful.

Over and Out.

Yo! Patrische! Captain....

...are getting some serious airplay at our home. Yes, I know, you were playing them all last year, but since I picked up the album a while ago its been getting increasing amounts of airplay here.

So just a public thank you to Patrische for the reminder/recommendation of Captain and their excellent album This is Hazelville. Definitely sad I missed them at Summer Sundae now...


HURRAH! No work for two days! Not back in office till Monday (boo to Monday though).

Anyway, possibly limited blogging people... bear with me.

And yes, I have set the video for Primeval. And yes I will still be watching the repeat on Sunday when I return home...

Protect Free Access to the British Library!

... and Marie and Matt_c's love life prospects...

Go on, you know it makes sense. Sign the petition here to protect future readers and lovelorn writers...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

In the Bleak Midwinter

Found this amusing little animation.

Here's the straight url, if you're that kinda YouTuber.

Slayage returns

After several weeks of frustrated clicking on either a travel spam search site or finding a dead link, I had nearly given up on Slayage returning to the Internet fold.

Now I find that it IS back and running fine with a much cleaner and simpler design (no frames!).

Welcome back Slayage - for all your needs to read academic thoughts and ideas about Buffy/Angel/Firefly and much, much more...

Marie finds benefits to working at the British Library

They're not all to do with books...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Primeval episode 2

Good things about the second episode:

Bugs = Scary.

Not hating Connor quite so much.

Less Ben Miller - yeah! (Sorry, but that character and his dialogue SUCK).

Cutter = fluttering sigh...

Less good things:

Please sort the use of 'previously' - I'm pretty damn sure that several of the scenes in this week's previously were NOT from episode one. I haven't got THAT short a memory ITV1...

Also, I know in this DVD age it happens, BUT what is the excuse for using images to promote certain episodes which then didn't seem to be on the screen? You better have a good range of extras on the DVD folks (mind, I see that the Primeval "Behind the Scenes" has been certificated by the BBFC... Anyone willing to tape me ITV whatever when they screen that or can someone guarantee me that it will get to the DVD uncut?)

Cassette Tapes

I have written before on the problem of my Dead Baggy tapes, and it seems I'm not the only one pondering what to do with all those cassettes littering the house (I have a couple of storage units PLUS a large carrier bag and that's AFTER I passed a load to the great recycling place in the sky...)

Belated links to George

Not sure WHAT was going on with my ability to keep up with blogs since I could have sworn I had been dropping by to check updates as well as having bloglines. So how come THIS post with oodles of FABULOUS Porto pics from George only just hit my radar...?

Was I losing my marbles? (No answers people, I can write my own jokes).

Wait, hang on... what's that next post...? "Bad Edit"? Seems it WASN'T me but rather that it had taken around a month for Blogger to allow him to update the blog having started the Porto post some time ago... Mind, it is SO jam-packed with LOVELY pics and YouTube videos... maybe Blogger got tired and emotional over all the port...?

Anyway, reading through G's posts you can also admire some very fine shelving (employment from this way beckons) and - of course - the promise of some very fine Munro shots from the 101st trek...

Hot Fuzz Fun

As a treat for it being the weekend (hey, any excuse!), Neil and I went to see Hot Fuzz yesterday, the latest from Pegg and Frost and Wright.

We're huge fans of Spaced and have very fond memories of going to see Shaun of the Dead with George before wandering to our favourite curry-house for much bantering exchange of lines (that too was around Valentine's Day: must be the traditional date of release for their work).

Anyway, I have to say we would heartily recommend it and we fully intend seeing it again... not least as we are hoping to see it with friends as an excuse to meet up!

Seriously though, it was great fun. Lots of British Actors of a certain age getting the chance to shoot things up. You get the impression that, as hard work as any film is, quite a lot of people had a bit of a ball!

And of course it gets the thumbs up from George as well...

Billy's Blog Birfday coming up...

Celebrate by writing in the stylee of Oye Billy!

Inappropriate responses

Dear me, there is no hope ...

Chrissie was right about the shirt, but my my, there was a terrifically inappropriate frisson for me when I was watching Cutter holding back the door as a giant centipede threatened to burst through...


I have a long lasting love for Auden, whose centenary falls this week. It pre-dates Four Weddings and a Funeral by more than a decade (a film I only saw on TV just a few years ago, long after the chick flick enthusiasm it spurred had passed). Instead it began at school when Auden was one of eight 19th and 20th century poets I studied for O level English Literature. It had little to do with Night Mail either, since it was elegaic for a past I scarcely knew, even though I loved steam trains and '30s history.

No, for me it was works such as Epitaph on a Tyrant, September 1, 1939, and To the Unknown Citizen which first caught my imagination and to which I keep returning (e.g. here and here). I love the variety of his poetic forms, and the diversity of his subjects (albeit that my favourites are ambivalently political).

So unsurprisingly I have enjoyed listening to today's Poetry, Please which includes a suitable range of Auden's works (it will be available to listen again if you get in quick). Shame that, even though McGough notes the end of The Unknown Citizen's subtitle - "This Marble Monument Is Erected by the State", he misses mentioning the first part of the subtitle - "To JS/07 M 378"; a pity since it highlights Auden's caustic wit for rhymes...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Never confuse TV and Film with the real world

Wise words from Toby OB over in the comments at MediumRob's place:

Just remember, it's not our world; we're just watching it.

Does it matter when film and TV get it wrong or resort to cliches in filming? Should they (let alone could they) get around this? New York and London are probably two places that have most often suffered the indignities of poor location shooting substitutes and hackneyed backdrop items (Hackney black cabs doesn't get close to the regular red bus and phone boxes that appear); but surely other locations suffer this to - we just don't have the same knowledge and reference points to correct it.

It comes back to a key Freudian concept really; the sense of the uncanny - the unhomely, the recognisable-but-yet-not-home sense of place and self. New York is SO well filmed, and yet so wrong in our mind's eyes because editing of location makes characters turn different corners to the ones that exist, into different locations to the ones that are there. No wonder my dreams have so often featured places that are familiar but bigger, smaller, different inside: its merely the translation of what I adapt to every time I watch film and TV. I'm constantly adjusting things against what I know (or believe) to be the real world. And likewise when I visit places, I apply the same technique - isn't there a restaurant around this corner?

Does it destroy our viewing pleasure? Or our visiting pleasure? It depends how much you expect. But it definitely heightens that 'uncanny' feeling.

Blogging dangers

It's a shame that people who can potentially work so hard for a cause can find that they become a problem for that cause through little or no fault of their own.

The backlash against bloggers working on the Edwards' presidential campaign is just the latest demonstration of this.

Hat tip to Cloud for this (since my time for bloglines is limited at the mo).

UPDATE: Amanda at Pandagon has written a short post which also links to her article at Salon. There some very telling comments following the Pandagon post...

I'm SORRY????

You nominate Jarvis and then give the award to the non-entity that is James Morrison?

Not even in the same league...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

MediumRob provides a good start to the week

As always, a fabulous reviewing style full of hilarity and observant thought from MediumRob on Primeval.

Plus, you know, he didn't hate it.

Makes me feel LOADS better.

ITV Message Boards

Great. It takes them several days to send me access to post on the boards (I only joined to say anything about Primeval). By the time I get access its MONDAY. Not only that but because they have time limits on WHEN you can post I can't actually post anything yet... so much for trying to post a 'yeah' before my working day begins.

Forums: designed for people who have no work time commitments and whose evenings are only filled with online action.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Fabulous pictures from America

Thank you Cloud: I always love looking at great pictures...

Books everywhere... a new one from Clare forthcoming...

After being thrilled and delighted by Clare's first book, The Dying of Delight (still available from the author), we get a first synopsis of Clare's second novel Bent Spoons.

It sounds fantastic!

Primeval review

"...Primeval made me smile all the way through, though admittedly for a woman who is slightly outside of the dinosaur-loving demographic a lot of that smiling came as a result of the presence of delicious Douglas Henshall."

Kathryn Flett: The Observer 11 Feb 2007

Damn, summed it up for me...


Seriously though, I doubt you would be surprised to find that the show was for me largely an indulgence of the first order. As Marie said, Dougie is a "class act" ; and he is. BUT, even though I think he's - well, 'hot' comes close to the right term - that comes from his acting and not despite it or as an aside. He's utterly convincing and charismatic; he's plays wounded flawed heroes exceptionally well; he has that quality of being able to convey a subtle flash of emotion in his facial expression; and he brings a deft touch of talent to flesh out even the most under-written of characters. But I ramble.

I know not everyone will have had the sympathetic eyes and ears that I did, but Henshall aside I would STILL have watched this programme. I might have winced more readily but I've tried to review this with as much balance as I can muster.

Characters (excluding Nick Cutter):
Some have criticised the characters for being a bit lumpen or sketchy. Actually, this was nothing worse than the often-seen 'first episode problem' when writers (or, more likely, producers) feel the need to spell large chunks of exposition and character explanation early on. I would have to say that Ben Miller's character aside most of this worked. Unfortunately, you need something to hold onto and in a difficult to judge early/pre-watershed slot this did a good job of presenting its central bodies. Abby's boisterous character worked well, especially her fanatical expertise on lizards; Stephen's hard-workingly aware manner played well against Cutter with whom he clearly has a long term understanding of both work and personal life; Claudia is clearly out of her required depth for the Home Office job but I'll forgive her that because she instantly fell for Cutter... heck, I totally get that. I'll even give Connor some credit as a character: not because of his conspiracy theory mentality (predictable) nor because of his irksome crush on Abby (equally so), but because of his recognisably geekish delight in things beyond understanding (in which he IS rightly matched with Abby even though she is already looking to be a Stephen kinda girl). And Helen Cutter...? Juliet Aubrey is some kind of goddess and a good actress. But how and why would she have stayed in the rift (oh come on, we KNOW that's what it is...how far is the Forest of Dean from Cardiff anyway...) and leave lovely Dr. Nick behind? The Doctor may be worth all the monsters, but these monsters are not worth leaving this doctor behind for...
Rating: 3.5/5. Hopefully, things will flesh out further - the script/direction needs to let the actors breathe a little more.

Character - Nick Cutter:
As written, the character isn't quite as fully formed as it could be; so the team making Primeval made one of their best decisions in getting Henshall for this role. And they have him keep his accent... Sigh. Cue one VERY happy bunny in Nottingham...
Rating: 4.5/5 Because even Douglas can't redeem everything that wasn't quite right about the programme.

Hmmm. Too weak by half with some really clunky lines, poorly structured... Not quite George Lucas bad (you might be able to write this shit but you sure can't say it), but definitely one of the weaker elements.
As The Stage pre-review noted, it's a bit of a dim idea to spoil your money shot of a dinosaur appearing by having the damn thing lumber into frame as the first seconds start up. Much better - as they do so later on - to have only hints of the monster out there. Similarly, the changes of pace at the Home Office with Miller's character (as funny as a fart in a lift) showed a dire misunderstanding of what was needed. Better to have had Claudia come across as a sympathetic supporter only to later be revealed as keeping the scientist team under watch. Miller's po-faced humourous turn just makes the government bodies look like idiots. I know they are, but really, some level of subtlety would have been nice. And I know they were acting to props, but sometimes the reaction shots were a little too gob-smacked. Again, hopefully this will be eased into and ironed out somewhat as the series progresses (though 6 episodes is no where NEAR enough to do this justice).
Rating: 2/5

FACT: all effects look shit within five minutes of seeing them. That's why you need good character, direction, script and substance. You need those to help you suspend the disbelief that comes into play in fantasy TV/film. How did these work? Well, I liked the Stargate-esque visuality of the rift. I liked the glass-like effect and its fading impact/magnetism. I also liked the longer shots of the dinosaurs. And I liked the close-ups in the action scenes (especially in the child's bedroom). It is, as usual though, in mid-shots, context shots, where sometimes something is lost. Too close to convincingly belong to their environment; too far away to work in relation to people, some of the creatures came over as CGI creations. But you know what? It largely didn't matter because once I accepted their presence in this environment, I accepted them. And the locations were by and large superb (mind, where were those opening 'university' shots filmed?)
Rating (pre-suspension of disbelief and in some dodgy mid-shots): 3/5
Rating (once suspension kicks in): 4/5

Sometimes too obvious? Oh yes, but somehow strangely enjoyable for all that. I actually laughed out loud when the Kaiser Chiefs came on. Frequently too loud (scoring/music does not have to take on Murray Gold), but nevertheless it mostly worked.
Rating: 3.5/5

Overall (excluding Dr. Cutter): 3.5/5
Overall (inclding Cutter): 4/5
It has some way to go to truly challenge a behemoth like Who that comes with its own long-term history and status. But as an enjoyable interlude and provision of fantasy TV it will do me for the next five weeks.

Thank you and out.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tonight, tonight...

Primeval! How excited am I!

Now if i could just get ITV's message board forum to allow me to register (send me that necessary registration email!!!!) I would be a happy bunny...

Those Ginger and Choc Chip cookies...

Ginger and Choc Chip cookies

As promised Joe...

Josie Long - a place for kindness and whimsy in this crazy world

It's all too easy to get jaded. So what I needed was a dose of Josie Long.

Josie Long programme cover: 'Kindness and Exuberance' tour Feb 2007

She's full of joyful niceness (her blog is called "drawing moustaches in magazines"). You just can't watch her and get cross; she's too warm for that reaction. She has great taste in music (her first genres listed on Josie's myspace page are Scottish Indie and American lo-fi - I'll forgive her UK Hip-Hop... well except the good stuff obviously). She loves Rushmore! How can she NOT be wonderful?!

Anyway, she comes highly recommended - for quirkiness, her stickers, her badges, her drawings and so much more - and if you get chance to see her go and have your heart warmed by her. She did Nottingham with Isy Suttie, also a bubbly and gentle comedian and very good fun to see.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Religious Knowledge

Frightening how much we can retain isn't it? For sure, as EineKleineRob notes, some of the questions are a little easier than others, but even so...

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

First time I did it I got 96%... As soon as I re-read my answers I knew exactly which I had gotten wrong. My dad was clearly watching me on THAT...

Missed Wednesday

...work bedlam... however... I don't wish to tempt fate ("what kind of luck have we had Ginger?") but there may POTENTIALLY be light at the end of various work-related tunnels. Something that has been dogging me all week (no, not in THAT sense!) may, just MAY, be laid to rest later today at least at the stage we have reached with it.

Of course, in the meantime, all manner of other merde moments are in my lap (metaphorically) not least has been my inability to get the plumber back to move my water tank and therefore sort out my back room/Neil's study. yesterday was a blur. Today hasn't been much better. Tomorrow we go to see Josie Long. Respite. Albeit that I need to organise my video recording for NCIS etc (after checking my recording of GMTV through from this morning... don't ask...)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New Blog on the Block

Ally has ventured into blogland. His new blog Old Trafford Views has got off to a winning start with a lively overview of multi-cultural society. A very warm welcome to him.

He also appears to have some connection to Boob Pencil - which definitely makes him good in my books...


RT, TVT and other assorted Primeval goodies

Lots of nice coverage in the TV weeklies ahead of Primeval starting Saturday. Henshall is described as a "handsome, flawed hero" in the Radio Times (that's definitely MY kind of hero); and we even get a Sunday re-run... great for those occasions when my video recorder is in high demand.

It'll set me up nicely for that start of NewWho in March/April... if only we could be guaranteed a nice bit of sci-fi adventuring all year round. Perhaps some scheduling to get Primeval flow into NewWho flow into Sarah Jane Adventures flow into... well, I guess Torchwood... what else can we have? (I'm semi-discounting Life on Mars since we already know that's gonna be finishing after this next season, but also because it will overlap with at least Primeval if not NewWho as well...)

Monday, February 05, 2007


I've had a pretty rubbish time of things this past week and it's not looking to get better soon, so thanks for all the patience and support folks. I'm getting there but raising my head above the parapet of work is proving somewhat more complicated than I would like.

I'm just going to take refuge in finishing watching Season two of The Wire. And then we'll go back and watch Season 1.

I may even try and get hold of Season 3. I'm feeling reckless.

New look for "Behind the Sofa"

As a fond fan of the TachyonTV podcasts, I've long since enjoyed popping over to the delights of Behind the Sofa - a very unofficial but frequently hilariously opinionated site on all matters Doctor Who related.

Anyway, they've really upped the stakes with a spiffy new site design. Another case of credit where it's due I guess.

Credit where it is due and a plea for a hard copy of weekend articles...

I really couldn't keep on top of all the new info on Primeval without this Douglas Henshall website.

And here's a plea: Anyone out there got a copy of the weekend's Sunday Times? Or even the Daily Record from Saturday?


Ginger Choc Chip cookies

Will post a picture tonight all being well. They kept their shape! They are yummy! Joe's choc chips are the BESTEST!

Primeval is coming

After a rubbish week, I was grateful for Saturday. I picked up the final edition of Dreamwatch in magazine format and lo, the front cover is nigh perfect in itself: Douglas Henshall AND David Tennant. Sheez, it hardly gets better.

And now ITV have updated their lovely Primeval website ready for SATURDAY 10 February! 7.45pm!!! Set that video! Be there!

I need to get to Friday already.