This blog is metamorphosing
As you may have seen, I haven't blogged much lately. Apart from a
drought of thoughts, I've had enough of HTML updating, Thingamablog
(good as it is) and being unable to update from anywhere other than my
own broadband connection.
So I'm off to wordpress.com for a trial period. It's a bit of a step
down being unable to customise my blog, and to have to use someone
else's look and feel, but if it's one I like then I don't really mind.
Besides, it gives me so many advantages - I don't have to worry about my
HTML code not working properly, I can write from anywhere, and
it's free. I can't run Wordpress myself because blueyonder don't provide
MySQL, and I'm a bit of a cheapskate, so it's the best I can do.
Old articles remain here, but for the meantime...
If only more schools would do this
gives pupils contraception" (BBC News)
Basically, a community college in Devon has decided to give out condoms
and/or the Pill and/or STI testing to kids who've been through a full
sex-education programme run by family planning GPs. This is a fantastic
idea - it gives out the 'if you're going to screw, and we know you're
going to, you might as well do it safely' message in a way that
increases the amount of qualified support that kids are going to get -
plus, it's from actual trained GPs instead of little trained PE
teachers, as it was in my case.
So unsurprisingly, as it is with all sex ed matters, some people are
being moronic about it. Parents were apparently consulted beforehand
and, of course, can opt their kids out (grr), but of course they don't
want those other kids learning about it either, and what's more
they don't like the fact that the GPs give confidentiality and so won't
know that their kid's trying not to get pregnant. I particularly like
"Campaign organiser and father-of-eight Neville Wheelan, who
would be affected if the scheme was extended to other schools, said the
rights of parents and families were being undermined."
As a "father-of-eight", of course, he obviously doesn't believe in
contraception (I wonder if his wife does). Funnily, he doesn't even seem
to be from the area, which I thought would have been a
prerequisite in order to get your views heard by the local media.
"He said: 'The consequences, psychological and physical damage
that can be done is something that children should not be exposed to.'"
Funny, I would say exactly the same thing about having a kid -
the point of sex ed is so that we avoid said damage (having a
baby at 14 will ruin your life forever, getting chlyamidia off
your boyfriend will really fuck you up, that sort of thing.) But
there you go, you just can't please some people.
I should really add an "Unfortunate Celebrity Deaths" category
She was responsible for my favourite recent I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue
moment: doing Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" to the tune of Renee &
Renato's "Save Your Love" with such passion and overwhelming enthusiasm
that it became even funnier than it would normally have been. Another
too-young cancer casualty.
And Jim Davidson still lives.
Well, it's been a pretty good selection this year, actually - Reese
Witherspoon won for Walk the Line, which was unexpected (she's very
good in it), and the Wallace and Gromit film won Best British Film
(yay!). Brokeback Mountain swept it (I still haven't seen it),
which I suppose was expected.
predictions? I haven't seen Crash and Capote isn't out
yet, but I suspect Brokeback will take Best Picture too (the
BAFTAs and AMPAS membership overlap considerably.) Munich is the
best film out of the list I've seen. Witherspoon should get Best
Actress, W&G should get best animated (but I wouldn't mind if Miyazaki
got it either) and Robert Altman should have got his Oscar a long time
back, but at least gets an honorary one. Looks to be a pretty boring
year - too few choices.
And, in non-movie related news... Andy
Murray won his first ATP Tour title. Against Lleyton Hewitt. 2-6,
6-1, 7-6. Having beaten Andy Roddick already. Damn, he's getting
better quickly, isn't he?
"US to emulate Eurovision contest"
hell are they thinking? Eurovision is naff, and naffness can
only be made tenable by a serious irony injection (which is why Terry
Wogan is the only guy alive who can host the thing without making it
unbearable.) Most of the rest of Europe hasn't discovered pop-cultural
irony yet - see the popularity of hair-rock bands in most of the Eastern
Bloc - which is why they can stand it. We can stand it because we have
Wogan, and as a nation we like pop-cultural irony. The US, on the
other hand, is an odd case; TV producers love pop-cultural irony
but think that the audience are too dumb to take the real thing, so
generally oversugar and seriously mess it up. It will be a disaster.
Oh, and file this under 'unlikely': Pete
Doherty vows to stay 'drugs-free'. Like the last ten times, I
Just seen the Massive Attack video
...holy shit, it's good. The song's back in Protection territory
and the video (a Jonathan Glazer special) is beautiful in its shocking
simplicity. See it. Love it. Buy the single in March, and maybe we can
get something decent up the Top 10.
Now, about that album...
Looks really awful from the trailers, mainly because of Richard Ayoade.
So, how's the programme itself?
It's actually pretty good. It's a trad sitcom, shot on video with a
laugh track, which is also really good news - I loathe the
Green-Wing/Nighty-Night/Office style sitcoms that feel that just because
they're 'modern' means they don't have to be funny and seem to be
absolutely everywhere on TV right now. The writing, as we would expect
from Graham Linehan, is very sparky; Richard Ayoade is still awful, but
looks like he may well become more funny as the series goes on
(certainly, he seems to improve between episode 1, where he's
tooth-grindingly bad, and episode 2, where at least one of his lines
works). The set designers have done their homework (EFF stickers, Texas
Chainsaw Massacre poster, RTFM T-shirt), and the attention to detail
is really quite likeable. And, most importantly, it's funny.
The second episode is much better than the first, by the way, so do
stick with it. If you don't, Channel Four will recommission 'Balls of
Steel'. Please, think of your sanity.
"I hate Illinois Nazis!"
[Jake Blues, "The Blues Brothers" (1980).]
Following that line, the Blues Brothers drive their car directly through
a crowd of heiling Nazis, scattering them into the river, completely
destroying their master-race image and making them look as ridiculous as
they really, underneath the swastikas, are.
similar fate did not befall Nick Griffin today, and it's a shame.
This, not jail, is what he and his crowd of tinpot hatemongers really
deserve - full, humiliating, public embarassment.
It's interesting to contrast this with the current furore over the
Prophet Muhammed cartoons - made by a Danish newspaper specifically to
piss people off in about September last year, riled up by a few Internet
tossers as a 'freedom of speech against those Ay-rabs' issue, now so
successful in doing so it's destabilising the European role in the
Israel/Palestine peace process. Both the cartoons and Griffin's BNP are
at the harsh edges of freedom of speech - they may cause great, great
harm by being there.
As a small-l liberal, I have to consider freedom of speech to be one of
the values I hold most dear. People like the BNP do not make this easy.
I note, with some irony, that they don't want us to have our
freedom of speech - they're
involved in the current will-not-die iteration of the Jerry Springer:
The Opera saga. At the same time, I have to concede that while
Muslims do have genuine grievances over the cartoons - the one with the
turban bomb is truly appalling racism - their leaders really shouldn't
be trying to make it a nuclear issue; although the normal boycotts,
complaints, protests etc are absolutely fine if done in a legal and
proper way. It's not like Jerry, where the complaints were
unjustified and the protesters scummy - this is a much more even affair.
Anyway, on the Mohammed cartoon stuff, Bloggerheads
Yoghurt are both very good. Oh, and considering that Mark
Collett - Griffin's co-defendant - has admitted being involved with
Redwatch, the British Nazi version of a animal-rights/anti-abortion
style 'post the addresses and knock them off' hitlist (in both Secret
Agent and, istr, in the 2002-ish 'Young, Nazi and Proud' Channel
Four film) shouldn't he be in jail instead of praising himself as a
"victor" for "freedom of speech"? Only in a just world, I think.
ISX 2005 List #2: Films of Last Year
In a belated followup to the previous "music of 2005" list, as
discovered in my drafts folder, here's a grossly incomplete films of
Antibodies (saw at EIFF, so doesn't really count) - Truly
brilliant German serial killer movie with a psychological bent that
knows exactly how to involve its audience on a primal level; it also,
happily, knows both when and when not to use gore, much like
David Fincher's Seven (the last great serial killer movie). The
less you know about this movie, the better; I knew very little on
going in, and it only aided the experience. An absolute must see.
Batman Begins - It's a tribute to how good this movie is that
it ends up being the best comic-book movie of the year - in the year
of Sin City. Tim Burton didn't really get Batman (he got the
villains, though), and Joel Schumacher was, let's face it, crap,
although Batman Forever is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Chris
Nolan and David Goyer, on the other hand, do get Batman, and
also know how to write a decent motion picture; Batman Begins
is a comic-book movie with a immensely solid script structure, densely
interconnected and near enough making sense. The structure is
impeccable; the villain choice brilliant; the proto-Batmobile plain
cool and Christian Bale excellent. If only more comic-book movies
were like this.
Crimen Ferpecto (Ferpect Crime) - Yeah, another EIFF movie, but
a great one; funny, twisted and intricately done. Coincidentally, its
director Alex de la Iglesia was once attached to the Doom
movie, and may have made a better fist of it than the guys that did...
Downfall (Der Untergang) - Again, technically doesn't count
because it was made in 2004, but we only got it in 2005. It is simply
an outstanding achievement - by "humanising Hitler", as its detractors
put it, it shows us why people were so devoted to him and why he was
able to get away with it for so long. The movie feels real.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - It's a lot funnier than any movie with a
scene involving electrical genital torture has any right to be; to the
extent that even the genital torture is funny, in its own brilliantly
warped black way. A must see.
Land Of The Dead - I have a rather contrary opinion on Land;
it was one of the most engaging cinema experiences I've had this year,
pretty much non-stop zombie fun. Remember, fans loathed Day
when it came out as well; now, Day is seen as a modern classic,
and I hope that in the future Land will be seen the same way.
There already seems to be a fanbase growing...
Serenity - It's pretty well done, although uneven; besides, we
need more decent SF, it's a very underdone genre right now.
Sideways - That Paul Giamatti performance is really a thing of
wonder; it makes the movie, despite its slow start. Besides, it's
Sin City - See the Batman Begins review - Sin City,
like BB, is a comic book movie done right, true to its origins and
true to cinema as a medium.
The Aristocrats - The best one-joke film of 2005.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - If you hate Wes Anderson,
that's fine. I, on the other hand, rather like his films, and Life
Aquatic is no exception.
Wallace and Gromit in The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit - If you
don't like this movie, you have no soul. Period.
And the disappointments of the year (not necessarily all bad):
Doom - How on earth do you dumb down a videogame
plotline? The answer, unfortunately, is this movie: you swap demons
from hell with "mutations caused by 'Chromosome 24'", add a really
stupid first-person scene and rip off Aliens. Thanks,
Hollywood. The only reason this isn't in the next section is because
of the decent-to-not-horrendous direction, good DP, proper monsters
and the Clint Mansell score; if you want plot, not to mention have
some actual fun, go play the much misunderstood and majorly underrated
"Doom 3" instead.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind - Sorry, I didn't get it.
I got Adaptation, and I can tell that Jim Carrey puts in a
fantastic performance, but the movie really didn't grab me. Your
mileage may vary.
Napoleon Dynamite - I didn't get this either, and not in
a good way. It really is a one-joke movie, and the one joke is very
close to the end. Nicely quirky, but not satisfying at all. Again,
your mileage may vary.
War Of The Worlds - Spielberg ending strikes again; what is a
very well done freakout of a film ends up wrecking all its good work
in the last ten minutes. Shame.
Series 4 of 24 - (Sure, it's not a movie, but I
don't watch that much TV so it's going in here) - they really should
have ended after S3, rather than go to the contrived lengths they did
throughout S4 (and, according to the spoilers, in S5 too.) Sigh.
And by far the worst thing this year...
The Business - Loud, obnoxious and supremely idiotic. 'Nuff
entry posted by Inquisitor at 18:07
edited on: 25/01/2006 18:14.
Updated my blogroll - knocked off a few, put on a few, changed addresses
of others - and [edit: couldn't fix the page titling because my software
won't let me]. Added more obvious permalinking too - it was very
subtle before. Maybe I'll feel confident enough to do some CSS changes
when I have more time, or possibly even write an article.