Posts from 10th September 2003

Sep 03

Adverts ‘fat’ joke ruled ‘funny’, not offensive

Do You SeePost a comment • 237 views

Adverts ‘fat’ joke ruled ‘funny’, not offensive, according to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Which is more than can be said about Jamie Theakston’s presenting on The Games which scores doubly bad on fatuousness (is this a word eh?) and gurning smugness. The actual commentator however has compared curling to “a game of chess on ice” and therefore gets a thumbs up from the Walthamstow TV scoring jury.

Look! It’s Mercury Music Prize winner Dizzee Rascal picking his nose

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 373 views

Look! It’s Mercury Music Prize winner Dizzee Rascal picking his nose!!! You’d think he’d get a little man to do that kind of thing for him now, wouldn’t you? Then again, for all his superstardom he’s still quite a little man himself…

There is an essential dilemma

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 226 views

There is an essential dilemma when reviewing popularisations of specialist subjects. If I know enough about X to determine whether this introduction to X covers the ground throughly and accurately, without omission or distortion or misrepresentation, fairly and in a proportional and balanced manner – well, then I’m too knowledgeable to assess whether it is a good introduction for a lay audience, comprehensible to people new to the territory.

Anyway, what with having mysterious eye problems at present, fairly large-print books with lots of illustrations are extra appealing, and my local remaindered shop is knocking out a bunch of those Introducing… books about philosophy and science and the like at under three pounds a go. The print is large, and the first one I’ve read, Introducing Postmodernism, pairs writer Richard Appignanesi with cartoonist Chris Garratt, best known for Biff. I’m not sure that he does more than illustrate the text, mostly – only the occasional page is in anything like comic form, and I’m not sure how much we would lose by dropping 90% of the artwork.

I read this because I love various artistic manifestations of Postmodernism, and got interested in it because of all the PoMo authors I adore. I knew a bit here and there, but lacked an overview and knew little of the philosophical and historical ideas that I haven’t picked up from the novels I’ve read. I think the book does a pretty good job of bringing up and explaining lots of stuff, and although there are omissions (no discussion of literature at all!) I suspect it hits all the key points. I found it interesting and stimulating and useful enough that I’ve immediately moved on to one on Derrida, which makes this a recommendation. If we can get a reaction from someone properly educated in philosophy or cultural studies, maybe we can triangulate towards a real review.

Are people supposed to admit to reading primers of this kind? Have I made an intellectual faux pas?

Whitechapel has featured

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 180 views

Whitechapel has featured in a surprisingly high number of my posts to the Publog over the years. And here I am again to offer evidence as a rapid rebuttal to Pete’s mental idea that tellies in pubs should be for sport only. Get yourself down to the mock-tudor glories of the Black Bull on a Sunday night and get enjoying the super-cheesy VH1 hits of the 80s they like to show down there. A bit of singing along; a bit of laughing at the videos; a few half-forgotten tunes called back for (often surprisingly favourable) drunken reappraisal.

This is every bit as good a pub life enhancer than the sport is, and maybe even better.

FAST FOOD ROCKERS – “Say Cheese (Smile Please)”

FTPost a comment • 530 views

FAST FOOD ROCKERS – “Say Cheese (Smile Please)” A quick warning entry to alert you to the year’s least necessary release – Fast Food Rockers follow-up single. Several focus group participants muttered darkly that FFR were planning to ‘do a Steps’ and so it has proved. Except I knew Steps and you, Sir, are no Steps. The Fast Food Rockers use a niggling Eurogroove to tell the world to smile, the theory being that smiling is contagious. They also threaten to take your photograph when you have started smiling, an unpleasant prospect. Nobody on earth needs to buy or hear this record: easily the best bit is the camera-shutter FX at the start that makes you think of “Girls On Film” and lasts for 1.5 seconds. The rest is demeaning and nasty, exactly what people who hate pop think all pop sounds like: the musical equivalent of a supermarket greeter.

The Flamingo, The Pushme-Pullyu and the Mao

TMFDPost a comment • 1,147 views

The Flamingo, The Pushme-Pullyu and the Mao – all pieces in variant chess according to this site. I’m fond of house rules and rule variants in theory but they often seem rather forced: most games have players for whom knowing and tweaking the rules is a great deal more fun than actually gaming. It’s probably just because I find chess a grim pastime at best, but a lot of this stuff seems like a games equivalent of ‘dress-down Friday’: the supposed departure from the norm which just serves to reinforce its joylessness.

The Sun And 13 Cantons is not a bad pub

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 271 views

The Sun And 13 Cantons is not a bad pub, in as much as it is a pub at all. Yes it is overpriced, yes its wipe down clean tables are aspiring to bardom: but they are catering for a media kind of market who like that kind of thing. I am not sure though if even this kind of audience is particularly keen on giant plasma screens showing disassociated clips of extreme sports, extreme dancing and bright colours.

It has been well documented, the problem of televisions in pubs. The TV is a natural eye magnet, as many of our associates noted yesterday. Fine for sport, they should be off for everything else. This plasma screen though seems a bit different. Taylor made bits, linked with the odd bouze advert and advert for the pub itself (declaring proudly that they had a live DJ “most” Fridays). The content was a little bit colourful kooky for its own sake, and plenty of Jackass like tomfoolery.

Who is this for? It threatened to derail many of our conversations, people eyes being sucked up. For people without any conversational skills (they could oof-a-long-a sports injury). Were they for the amusement of people sitting ont heir own? The only singleton in the pub had his back resolutely turned against it and was happier writing in his journal and reading a David Eddings in Dutch. Pointless contraptions, spoiling our pubses.

Pet Shop Boys Track By Track

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 846 views

Pet Shop Boys Track By Track: a remarkable labour of love PSB fan-site, essentially one of those Revolution In The Head-style career archaeologies, except online and free-of-charge. The song information is interesting, though my favourite bit of the site is the selection of Pet Shop Boys lists, including an intriguing analysis of why their career stalled in the USA.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 275 views

HERE’S WHAT I HATE #1: CABBAGE!! Two minor celebrations running I have had to pick my way delicately through an otherwise excellent meal – once at Stockpots in Old Compton Street (Fried Liver and Onions) and once at the Korean restaurant Bu-San in the Holloway Road (Lamb w.Garlic and Ginger in a Spicy Sauce) – bcz there is cabbage present. I *like* raw cabbage; I *LOVE* red cabbage. But unred cabbage cooked is just intolerable to me, perhaps bcz I’m old enough to remember the days when English Cuisine still meant overboiling everything.

(HERE’S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT UNRED CABBAGE: small Sistrah Becky always referred to the stalk as legs – as in, “Ew, I don’t like the legs!”) (She is right: they are the worst bit…)

Reality Blurred

Do You SeePost a comment • 238 views

Reality Blurred: a Reality TV weblog (US shows and networks only though). I’ve been having a little sniff around for TV weblogs, Google hasn’t been very helpful though, loads of right-wing sites rooting around looking for ‘bias’ when they’re resting their comfortable arses on an enormous silk cushion stuffed with it. Most of the good blogs – like Reality Blurred – are well put together news aggregators, all very useful but a little lacking in humanity. The channel-hopping continues…