Posts from 2nd November 2004

2
Nov 04

Not a pub post. Barely a food post. But certainly a Pumpkin post.

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 320 views

Not a pub post. Barely a food post. But certainly a Pumpkin post.

Flatmate returned from a trip to France at the weekend with a pumpkin carved into a Jack’O’Lantern. It was after all Halloween (and therefore along with fifty percent of the childless population I was siting in the house with the light out*). Apparently the flesh of said punpkin had been turned into a foul soup and an even fouler orangey ratatouille. Nevermind, they popped a tealight in and the thing grinned merrily on top of the TV. Except after half an hour there was a slight wisp of smoke coming from it.

After investigation it became clear that whilst out of the fire directly, the lip of the pumpkin had been charring nicely. The smell was cooked, charred pumpkin. And it smelt lovely.

*Some Trickletreators had caught me early as my stockpot was merrily bubbling and I was the subject of much derision handing out a few rather soft Rich Tea biscuits.

THE FUTURE OF THE PAST

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THE FUTURE OF THE PAST

The future has always held a fascination for people, we’ve always imagining what new technology will bring, but particularly in the 1950s through to the 1980s thoughts of the 21st century influenced all aspects of life, from design through to adverts for Smash. The future was going to be space age, robots would be everywhere, travel would be transformed, food would be unrecognisable. Architects did their best to blot out the Victorian era from the skyscape, and interiors of old houses were ripped out and redecorated in the new style. The past was out, all eyes were looking forward.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and surprise surprise, those predictions made in the 60s of life on mars etc. didn’t come true. What has happened though is that people have started looking backwards into the past again. Maybe it’s because people have more leisure time, what with all the labour saving devices we now have. Maybe it’s because the extended family, with stories of years and family gone by, old pictures of relatives, family heirlooms and everything else that went with it, is becoming a thing of the past. Maybe it’s because of increased accessibility through the internet. Whatever, there’s no getting away from the fact that the past has become one of the boom industries of the 21st century.

Want to redecorate your house? There are some lovely reproduction wallpapers from any of the major styles from the past 200 years you can easily get your hands on. Going to B&Q for paint to spruce up the house? There are numerous shades of ‘heritage’ colours for you to chose from. Want to replace all the original features in your victorian house? Plenty of reproduction pieces out there for you. Just go have a look on Ebay at the collectors category to see what the market for old ephemera, books, etc. is like. Past, heritage, history all used to be evil words to large companies. They had to look forward, look to new technologies, they couldn’t risk being seen as looking towards the past. No more – just look at the drinks industry and the current Guiness marketing campaign – every ad harking back to advert campaigns from their past.

Family historians are visiting archives in their droves to trace their ancestors, find out who they were and what their lives were like. Companies continue to produce reproduction furniture, toys, decorations, stationery. TV companies have realised the appetite and commissioned historical documentaries, we’ve had historical reality tv shows, and the BBC is currently running a campaign ‘Who do you think you are?’ centered around family history. Indeed, one of their programmes, with Bill Oddie researching his family tree, was watched by 5.4 million viewers, twice the average audience usually tuning in to BBC2. The Guardian has branded genealogy ‘the new tv property porn’.

The heritage industry is booming, things are looking rosy. Heritage Lottery funding has meant that millions of pounds have been poured into much needed redevelopment of museums, archives, libraries. Yes some of the projects have been white elephants, but much of the money has been spent on ensuring that our past is being preserved properly, so that many more generations can get as much out of it as we are doing.

The past is back, and long may it continue!*

*disclaimer – the author’s opinions are in no way influenced by the fact that she works in the heritage industry, oh no.

FT TOP 100 FILMS 13: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

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FT TOP 100 FILMS
13: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING

“It doesn’t feel like three hours”, my companion said as I left the cinema. Perhaps they were not as nuanced at reading their bodies signals. My arse felt the three hours and told the rest of me without compunction. But does the book feel like seven hundred pages? Again, yes.

Reasons why the first Lord Of The Rings film is great range from the snarky (NO TOM BOMBADIL) to the reverent (WHAT AN ADAPTATION). Myself, I am very wary of adaptations: full stop. What does it profit cinema to be constantly aping other art forms. Not to say that some adaptations are not better than the original, as anyone who has read Puzo’s stodgy The Godfather. All they show is that the novel was the wrong form for that story. Something it is relatively difficult to say for The Lord Of The Rings (and I am by no means a fan).

What Peter Jackson’s first film in particular did was shut up the fans of the book who suggested it was unfilmable. I agreed, it was unfilmable, not because of the fantastical nature of its contents but rather the oft dull, overly portentous tone of the thing would never translate. Jackson’s version is lighter, whilst full of brooding looks and end of the world smoulders (which certainly come a-cropper in the last film where dropping a ring down a crack does not pass Hollywood muster). But okay, lots of people went to see a visionary blend of solid adaptation, special effects and a guiding hand who believed in his project.

What the Fellowship Of The Ring did was reinvent the cinematic EPIC. The event movie. As it was filmed concurrently with its sister films, then released three weeks before Christmas, it latched on to a human need for ritual (a need clear in the films themselves). It will be odd seeing a Christmas without one this year. I love the ritual of cinema: I love the buildings, I love the anticipation and I love seeing films with an audience. The Lord Of The Rings films, on opening night, in the best seats in the house (in the same seats in the house each year natch) was the pinnacle of that kind of cinematic experience. The films were fun, but what they confirmed about why I love cinema were much more important than the films themselves.

That there is a generation who will no longer be hung up on Star Wars is another good thing. The only question is what kind of cinema will they spawn?

Sometimes it is nice being on promoters

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Sometimes it is nice being on promoters and agents mailing lists. Look how they spin the disappointing news that Dave Pearce has lost his weekday Radio One show (the part in parentheses is particularly heartbreaking):

Dave Pearce’s diary is now open for 2005.

With the change in Radio 1 schedule, midweek student events are now more feasible (and affordable)

It might as well read “Will DJ for food”.

“The past…now let me tell you about the past…”

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“The past…now let me tell you about the past…”

Actually, the Month Of The Past would have been a better name for it. We wanted to do a history month on Blog Seven, but felt its scope needed to be a bit wider – now-gone people, trends, events, ideas as well as more conventional ‘history’. Hence – in a morbid moment – the Month of the Dead. Hopefully to be less gloomy than the name suggests…

Omens and portents…

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Omens and portents…

Redskins loss equals Kerry win etc etc – one of the (few) enviable things about US politics is their forest of signs and portents that ‘predict’ elections, many of which are sporting. Does Britain have any equivalents? Is there some lower league team whose Saturday result has “predicted” every general election since 1922? Or a village cricket team whose sunday innings is always within 20 of the Tory seat total? Answers on a polling card please…

I am not sure why I was looking forward to Rich Hall’s Election Special.

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I am not sure why I was looking forward to Rich Hall’s Election Special. After all, I though Rich Hall’s Fishing Show, his previous effort for BBC4, was not any good. But having enjoyed another spin of his Otis Lee Crenshaw character at Edinburgh, and with a lack of American based comic commentary on their own election, I guess I thought it would have to do.

“It’ll have to do” just about sums it up. There were some nice gags in-between the picturesque vistas of Montana that Hall and Wilmott (not really changing their schtick from the Fishing Show) visited. But it was pitched, potentially at a BBC4 audience, who knew more about the election than the hosts cared to discuss, and who were probably not going to go for the metatextual is this a serious documentary or not. It quite clearly was not. Hall creates a memorable character in his right wing Canadian baiting shock jock, however there seems little point in reacting against a fictional talk show host when you are trying to make a point about the real ones. At any rate, anyone who read the article by Hall in last weeks Time Out would have felt a little short changed, as nearly all the gags in that were repeated here verbatim.

And is it really that funny that Kerry looks like Deputy Dawg?
(Perhaps a better question is, does Kerry look like Deputy Dawg. Um – no.)

More on “Flores Man”

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More on “Flores Man”

Nature has now set up a special section on the Flores hominid discovery (or Homo floresiensis — impress your friends!) that Mark UNLEASHED on Proven By Science a few days ago. You know it’s a big discovery when Nature is providing so much FREE content about it.

While you’re there, perhaps take a look at this story about an extremely dicey-looking study into the number of civilians killed during the Iraq war. It’s dicey, first and foremost, because all their data was based on eyewitness perceptions and accounts. And secondly, they compiled much of their data in a small portion of the country (mainly the ultra-violent Fallujah area), only to exclude most of it in the end.