Posts from 24th November 2003
HOW TO DO A TOP ALBUMS LIST: inspired by Pitchfork’s revision of its own Top 100 90s albums list (and don’t think I don’t sympathise with them).
1. Assemble ‘staff’.
2. Go to pub.
3. Drink a lot.
4. When all are drunk enough for their real actual tastes to emerge, start the count-up. Somebody names an album they think is great. This is #100. The next person names another. This is #99. Continue to #1. Make an asterix by any that spark off drunken argument and a double-star by any that get people singing. Keep drink coming throughout.
5. By the time you get to #1 only scientifically terrific albums will be being named. To increase the truth-value of the poll you could start the count at a lower number but you don’t want people getting too bored.
6. Publish poll, adjusting places by up 5 for an argument and up 10 for singing.
Apparently this awful cove played something in Duran Duran. Keyboards probably. Or eyeshadow. He was the ‘arty one’; the band trying out a one dimensional personailty idea well before the Spice Girls got near the concept. So Rhodes was Arty Duran, Simon Le Bon was ‘Marrying Model’ Duran, John Taylor was ‘Marrying TV Presenter’ Duran, Roger Taylor was ‘Trying To Commit Suicide’ Duran and Andy Taylor was ‘Who He’ Duran.
Nick Rhodes got to be Arty Duran, this status justified by his amazing photographic genius, much hinted at in interviews. Proof of said genius came with INTERFERENCE, an art book published by Nick consisting of pictures of static on TV screens. You see being all arty meant he lacked the skill to tune in his television. Not the only thing he did not tune, if Plante Earth is anything to go by. Its really hard for a keyboard to go out of tune, but Nick, he was artful like that. And wore far too much make-up.
What is to be done with Richard Dawkins?
RD’s contribution to the tiresome “Dear George” that The Guardian felt compelled to publish last week:
After you and Jeb stole the election (by a margin smaller than the number of folks you executed in Texas) you were rightly written off as a one-term president: a fair advertisement for Drunks For Jesus but otherwise an idle nonentity; inarticulate, unintelligent, an ignorant hick. September 11 changed all that. Not that you covered yourself with glory that day. You are said to admire Churchill. Can you imagine Churchill, at such a moment, panicking all around the country from airbase to airbase? Even nasty old Rummy bunkered down where he belonged. … Go home.
 Arse – I thought I’d deleted this – it was the start of something much bigger. I’ll leave it now that it’s published (thanks Sarah), but just to get the gist of it: how has a once original thinker and model of clarity descended to such flaccid recycled rhetoric? OK, so he was writing for a model Guardian reader, and the letter might have been a “20 quid if you write something by tomorrow” deal, but don’t you get the feeling he’s not doing the “public understanding of science” any favours any more? When the view of the archetypal scientist has shifted from lab-coated scatterbrain to obnoxious radio 4 game-show pannelist, I don’t see much progress.
It’s all very well being right, as he is on his home ground, but his talent at communication dropped off many years back. (Have you read any of his recent books?) Please, please can we elect a new media-wonk scientist? Send in your nominations to Melvin Bragg.
It’s back!: Gabba/AMP/ has become Gabba/Pod/, and it’s taken me weeks to notice, seemingly. But now I have I can rejoice with everyone else (also! a votes and comments system! kewl! and a membership system I haven’t worked out yet). Along with this place, Gabba has been totally essential for keeping me even tangentially up to date – very very nice to have you back!
The Mother is not as misogynstic as a lot of Hanif Kureshi’s work, but it still has some pretty horrible women in the centre of it. On paper this is a potentially laudable taboo busting film about sex between an older woman and younger man. It is actually one of the ultimate yuppie nightmare movies. Your mum, old fuddy duddy that she is, starts shagging your boyfriend. Ugh.
It is as a disconcerting horror movie that the Mother works best. Unfortunately all the hard work done by the first half of the film making Daniel Craig a loveable loser is thrown away in the second half making the other man merely a mercenary pathetic creature. This brings the mother daughter relationship closer, and dissipates the wonderful tension that had been built up. The scene when Craig goes nuts destroy all the hard work the rest of the film done in a peak of improv acting nonsense. Its a pity, since Craig and Anne Reid as the titular mother had built up an unlikely but real feeling relationship. By complicating the plot, Kureshi unfortunately allows the characters a get out from an otherwise intractable situation.
Oh, and it is set in West London, and I hate films set in West London.
Of course having gone to McDonalds’ I could hardly pass up the opportunity to sample the BIG TASTY, a.k.a. the McBritish – the megaburger available exclusively to UK residents. It’s an interesting choice for a Brit-branded burger since it seems to be modelled rather closely on that grand English institution – the Whopper. Hmm. What you get is a massive burger (a ‘third pounder’ apparently), a slice of fresh-esque tomato, too much lettuce, a generous lump of swiss cheese and a mysterious pinkish sauce which is like the Big Mac sauce but a bit tangier. If you’re hungry it does its job pretty well, like the Whopper – it is huge though, too big for its bun in fact, so don’t order it if you can see a lot of them waiting to be eaten, they’ll be clammy at the edges. The only question is – why Britain? Maybe the Focus McGroups showed us up as a nation of lardchopses, but it seems like only a few months ago McDs was pushing its fruit boosts and salad ranges – make your mind up Ron!
Pi is the ratio between the radius of a circular object and its circumference. It is notable for being a irrational number, impossible to display exactly as a fraction and in decimal terms it goies on forever without notably repeating itself. The only difference between the mathematical pi and American Pi is that American Pi goes on forever but repeats itself constantly. You can tell the bits that repeat itself, they are the only bits anyone doing this song in karaoke know (except for maybe the bit about the Jester).
Pi, as a mathematical formula is also notable for being about the death of Euclid, which was known in Greek terms as “The Day The Numbers Died”. American Pi is about the death of Buddy Holly, also known as the day everyobdy rejoices, sung hosannas and then got a nasty look from me because SINGING IS NO WAY TO CELEBRATE.