Posts from 22nd October 2003

Oct 03

The only justification for the existence of ITV2

Do You SeePost a comment • 347 views

The only justification for the existence of ITV2 (apart from the magnificent Trisha Extra) is the way it schedules repeats of Coronation Street. Rather than show the most recent episode they’ll broadcast one three or four days old, so it’s possible to wind up watching a week’s worth of Weatherfield in almost any order. This Pulp Fiction effect adds a whole new dimension to the viewing experience. No, it does.


Popular13 comments • 2,654 views

#48, 20th July 1956

I like the vim and sharpness of this song. I like the vocal tricks the record uses – the “dum-ba-ba-dum” doo-wop intro is an instant hit; Lymon’s long high “why” is heart-melting. I love the way Lymon rushes the verses. But I just don’t like the song as much as it seems to like itself: it’s charming and precocious and a shot of energy after a couple of torpid chart-toppers, but when he isn’t doing tricks Lymon’s voice sounds harsh and unformed. That’s apt, of course, for a record about sticky teenage lust. If I’d been a teenager in ’56 maybe it would have blown my world apart (more likely I’d have been a bit nervous of Frankie’s rawness) – but there’s no point in my pretending to be something I’m not. “Why Do Fools?” is a record I can appreciate but I can’t adore.

Aliens certainly look like

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 285 views

Aliens certainly look like THIS: unfortunately the story doesn’t say i. how these Californian scientists worked this out, or ii. what their damn book is called. (Other questions as usual not answered: when did we start calling them aliens and when did they stop being green?)

[URGENT UPDATE based on READING PROPERLY: The damn book is called Cosmic Company]

Computer Science: UNPLUGGED

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 290 views

Computer Science: UNPLUGGED! Site which promises method of teaching computer science completely sans lumbering behemoth of desktop equipment and bleary eye horror. I quite like the look of Count the Dots – Binary Numbers and The Poor Cartographer (same link as before). Yeah!

This then makes me think of the kids who can tune into ALIEN SIGNALS IN THE TV and sit in front of it all day writing messages from SPACE in binary code on their drawing paper.

What me, watch the X-Files as a youth? Never!

Leaves on the Line

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 134 views

Leaves on the Line: excuse for slow-running trains which has become a classic tabloid joke at the expense of “bureaucrats” and “bunglers” – this sensible article unpicks the science behind the gags and explains that, yes, leaf-falls are a real problem and yes, there is a reason why the problem got worse in the 1990s. It’s nice to read the boring truth occasionally – and there’s even some happier news at the end: Britain is getting its “first national magazine about trees”, called with admirable good sense Tree News. Best of luck to it.

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 340 views

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants
The famous 2-pound-coin/Oa*is-album quote, written in a letter to Mister Robert Hooke by Sir Isaac Newton ‘ but it hasn’t escaped the attention of some historians that this could well have been meant as a bitter dig at Hooke who was short of stature both physically and socially. In later correspondence with someone else, Newton refers to an un-named antagonist as a “dwarf”.

The two had many disputes, the time generally was rife with them, but the more famous is in connection with gravity ‘ specifically priority over who had the idea that the force of gravity acts as an inverse square of the distance. It is well established that Mister Hooke had posited the law in a publication on his observations concerning the “comets” of 1664/5. There are even letters emploring Sir Isaac to prove with his clever-clever maths that such a law was consistent with the known behaviour of comets, planets and so on. But, Hooke’s grumpy behaviour later on got Isaac removing any credit to Hooke from his m/s of the Principia. Frankly who can blame RH for some grumpiness when you’ve got the “posh kid who’s good at maths” making wise-cracks about your height.

Yes, I am reading The Curious Life of Robert Hooke by Lisa Jardine. It’s amazing the stuff I’d forgotten since revising for my “History of the Scientific Revolution” paper in my finals.

Before I get down to the rez…

TMFDPost a comment • 276 views

Before I get down to the rez, Let me just second Mark’s post below. Spy Ring looked brilliant, played like Ludo on Tamazepan. It is quite possible that I had a later version of the game which used the almost impenetrable code of reading mirror writing as the key to its secrets. Don’t even start me on Swindle, the game of antique auctions. (Waddingtons – so much to answer for.)

Anyway, last night I spent a jolly evening in the pub, celebrating yet another of my friends 30th birthdays. With us was an Arsenal fan. Being an Arsenal fan is a interesting mixture of fan types. Going great guns in the league, they are absolutely abysmal in Europe. As such you get to suffer at least a touch of the ying and yang of supporterdom (without the kaflooey of your club going bankrupt which keeps much of the rest of professional football going). Anyway, last night in the Champions League Arsenal played Dynamo Kiev, and said fan was scurrying home to catch the highlights.

Without going all “Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads” on you, I made a brief comment to try to keep him in the pub. The game was over, what would another half hour be. To whit I used my oft noticed skill at lying and told him the score. A fictitious made-up score. His face fell (mainly because I told him Arsenal had lost). Then repenting I told him it was a lie. He was not sure if he believed me, but unpicking my timeline for the evening showed there was no way, short of listening to a portable radio in the toilets, that I could know. So he skipped off happy.

Imagine my horror this morning waking up and discovering the actual score of the game was 2-1 – to Kiev. The self same score I had guessed at the night before. Maybe I should be playing this predict-o-score game of ILX…

Watching Star Trek: Insurrection on Monday night

Do You SeePost a comment • 293 views

Watching Star Trek: Insurrection on Monday night (it might not have been me, this is somewhat out of character), I was shocked by the adverts. Not by the content; that was standard Linda Barker trying to sell me her range of sofas and flogging electrical equipment, but by the fact they were there at all. You see Star Trek, and indeed its Next Generation kiddies, were always on BBC2 in the UK.

I am not sure how parochial this is, but the five terrestrial channels in the UK have a certain identity, a certain personality even. When BBC2 shows its sci-fi shows, it rams them in a dinnertime, kid friendly ghetto (hence causing a few problems for Buffy). Saturday mornings on BBC1 is the home of the lumbering three hour kids show behemoth, only recently sabotaged by SM:TV – which has in all fairness now been sabotaged back. When Morcambe And Wise, and The Goodies, transfered from the comfy but nurturing BBC1 to ITV the magic was lost. When Kenny Everett and Roland Rat went the other way, the rough and ready anarchy that ITV allowed was dulled by the requirements of Auntie Beeb. What I am saying is that context, albeit something as nebulous as what channel something is on, still affects viewing. And it was just wrong to see Star Trek with ads in. (It was just wrong to see Star Trek: Insurrection at all, not only the ST film with the most slight plot, but also the one where you identify most strongly with the bad guys).

For fans of this kind of disconcerting action, the X-Files movie is on ITV on Friday.