Posts from 4th June 2004

Jun 04


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 230 views


(see parenthesis middle of 4th sentence for clear evidence of agnes martin’s genius)

FT Top 100 Films 88: TIME REGAINED

Do You SeePost a comment • 735 views

The Top 100 is pretty light on adaptations of books. This is interesting due to the heritage film industry that does crank them out as the classier side of film culture. Well you will be pleased to hear that Time Regained is indeed an adaptation. Of Proust’s Rememberance Of Things Past. You will be disappointed to hear however that it does not come with scratch and sniff cards.

The conundrum at the heart of Time Regained is merely a second hand extension of the problem with Proust’s original. An attempt to put into novel form the failings and capriciousness of memory. Smells, tastes send Proust off into epicurean discourse, sidetracking any narrative of such in an attempt to emulate the weird workings of the mind. That no-one pointed at Proust and laughed too loudly suggests that his account has some analogy to certain experiences. But its a slog, and I think we are all glad that we are not quite a scatterbrained.

The film tries the dsame as the book, in a collage mode. Scenes from childhood merge into adulthood scenes, we are usually priviliged to find out what sends the narrator off on yet another flight of fancy. An American experiment like this may well soar off at great speed, but the nice thing about Time Regained is how much time it takes. The memories are savoured, in all their intimate and embarressing details. Just shy of three hours seems a long time to see a pretty self indulgent film about next to nothing. But sometimes it is nice to get into someone elses head, even if via a third hand route which operates wholly differently to your own memory. It just could have done with a scratch and sniff card that’s all.

Hundreds protest at TV ‘seance’

Do You SeePost a comment • 246 views

Hundreds protest at TV ‘seance’ 2 BBC news stories (again, sorry)
“Although Channel 4 received 487 telephone calls and e-mails complaining about the show, it said only 30 came after transmission”. One-time Christian Derren upsets some nutters by debunking s’ances and sending the end of the show back in time!!

Meanwhile magician’s upset at Museum exposes secret of Houdini trick that everyone had guessed how it’s done. Surely Penn and Teller have performed this trick with see-through perspex props anyway.

Breaking news, clever “blue screen” technology used in Superman films, claims expert. “Man can’t actually fly” he explains.


I Hate MusicPost a comment • 554 views


Just a quick delve here, ignoring self confessed Bowiephile and dead Labour Party leader John Smith’s rant about the title of THAT Bowie alubm “And for fuck’s sake, it’s TRAFOZSATSFM, not TFAR…”. But I hold my hand up to Roy de Bie who picked up that Mai Tai were actually Dutch, not German. Like that would make a quality difference. However a suggestion from needed a reply.

Maybe you hate music. Or maybe you just need to get laid!!!!

Now Mr if that is your real name, and you know it really could be, yes I do hate music. And getting a lousy James album with ugly Tim Booth in a dress on the cover is not going to help now, is it.

Counter programming.

Do You SeePost a comment • 377 views

Counter programming. As the rest of the world watch the rest of the world get destroyed in a bit of snow the smug arthouse congescenti are evading the hordes by slipping in to see the only other released last week. A little bit of Turkish: Uzak. And I could hear the world being destroyed next door and I have to admit, I got a bit ansty.

Uzak (Distant) is a low-key piece about a middle aged single Turkish photographer whose cousin comes to visit. Cue country mouse town mouse clashes, which never really arise. Instead we have the much more recognisable pains of having to share with someone who outstays their welcome. What is nice about Uzak is that both character are sympathetic: though it does not always remain that way and the distance in the title soon becomes clear. Distant cousins, but the newly divorced and disillusioned photographer is becoming distant from everyone.

This is the centre of the film, the rest of the film opens out suggesting this might be a Western malaise. This is modern Turkey, suffering from recession and the search for work and the plumping ofr lousy jobs adds to the depression. It has the same observational detail of a Kiarostami film, but the characters seem much better developed. Unlike Kiarostami there is no suggestion that this is a metaphor for anything except itself, and as it ends with a status quo similar to its start you still feel that the film has taken you somewhere. The future here is almost as bleak as in The Day After Tomorrow: that has unrealistic hope, this has uncalled for apathy.

James Bond, eh?

Do You SeePost a comment • 495 views

James Bond, eh? Its all about the marketing now, but why care – it’s a terrific franchise, and one whose continuity is uniquely malleable: anyone who looks the part can play the lead; anyone at all can play Felix Leighter. Change the actors, swap them about, it doesn’t matter – let Maud Adams play a trio of Bond girls, of course the villain of The Living Daylights can be the goody in Goldeneye.

Which makes the value of the current line-up all the more apparent. Apparently we like Pierce Brosnan, Judy Dench and John Cleese just the way they are, enough so that Electronic Arts invested a moderate fortune in their services for their latest game to use the licence – Everything or Nothing. It does a decent job of copying the actors into cyberspace, but all other aspects seem to be in dispute – a slender majority of the reviews found the title to be polished but pedestrian; the remainder were glowing with unlikely praise.

I have a theory. This is a big title, and EA were adamant that it would be the ‘missing’ Bond film of the year, filling the gap between cinema outings. It was easy to guess that their plan would be to plaster the bus shelters of Britain and abroad with glossed-up faux movie posters, each emblazoned with the selected wit and insight of a game review or two. And in an industry not awash with integrity, it doesn’t seem impossible that there would be some reviewers so cheap that their head could be turned with the promise of such fleeting publicity. Wouldn’t there?

If this is true, it’s disgusting. So in the interest of balance,

It rocks and it rolls! It drives forward the genre and pushes back the envelope! It swings through level after level of thrilling gameplay with breathtaking graphics to take your platform of choice to an earth-moving orgy of paradise! Every last second of play is like having sex on crack and no amount of love, money or status could compensate for the nirvana of joy that is playing this game and I for one shall not rest until each living soul on this planet has been subsumed into its unceasing glory!

Credit to the name below, please.

Exeter City 0 Brazil 1*

TMFD1 comment • 1,444 views

Exeter City 0 Brazil 1*
And, of course, it was *almost* just like watching Brazil, possibly like watching Brazil on a widescreen telly when you’ve got the aspect ratio wrong, but REAL ACTUAL WORLD CUP WINNERS nutmegging Steve Flack and arguing with Gareth Sheldon, none the less. The Exeter lads looked to be having a whale of a time with huge grins on their faces, even whilst being nutmegged. The game was hardly fizzing end-to-end conference-style action (the single goal was a penalty, and each side had only 2 shots on target) with the Brazilians happy to stroke the ball around, but there was certainly a carnival atmos in St James Park, although the lack of partisanship was a little disconcerting. The Big Bank tried a few choruses of “City ’til I die” etc, but they weren’t really taking, everyone was kind of happy to sit back and watch the fun. As Dunga said “the real winner was football” (although the club’s bank balance probably edged it on points).

Certain TMFD contributors were as excited about the Exeter City Legends game that preceded the Brazil match, as it featured several of his boyhood heroes, and he was certainly more excited about the presence of Tony Kellow (City’s all-time leading goalscorer) than Dunga and his mates…

*Yes, REAL ACTUAL BRAZIL, well, OK, the Brazilian Masters, who are a CBF-approved exhibition team, made up of former internationals, mainly from the 1994 World Cup winning squad. For the three of you who haven’t heard the story already, Exeter were sent to South America by the FA in 1914 to spread the footballing gospel where they faced several sides, including the first Brazilian team to include players from both Rio and Sao Paulo which went on to form the actual national squad the following year. Exeter lost that one 2-0, so there’s been some improvement in the last 90 years.

In the pub last night

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 233 views

In the pub last night we suddenly realised Mike Skinner’s terrifying plan. Picture the scene – June 24th, Lisboa, England in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004 – a hard-fought draw – penalties! – a disasterous miss, a nation’s dreams shattered – after the commentators’ inquest the credits roll, the camera lingering on the distraught face of Gary Neville (or whoever), and what is that I hear…

“Dry your eyes, mate…”

No.1 for ever.

Tim texted the Streets’ manager to ask whether the release date was mobile depending on England’s progress in the tournament – I do not believe he has yet received a reply…

Alex Petridis

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 350 views

Alex Petridis doesn’t actually compare the new Faithless album to Jacques Derrida’s Monolingualism of the Other [he could have added the subtitle for heightened effect: or, the Prosthesis of Origin]. Instead he ridicules a ‘broadsheet’ critic for carrying on as if the two were comparable, specifically, that the Faithless album were a work of ‘academic importance’ to rival Derrida’s book (i.e. for what some would call a ‘category mistake’). But what does Petridis’s choice of Derrida text reveal?

It’s not one of the most well-known: surely more undergrad lit students have suffered through lectures on Of Grammatology or Limited Inc. (they should be being taught Writing and Difference and Derrida’s “Introduction” (it’s about ten times longer than the essay it precedes) to Husserl’s “Origin of Geometry” of course, but everyone will have their own view on this). So is Petridis simply showing off by plumping for an obscure text? Or is it the only one he happened to come across at university?

If he’s read the book, he might know that it is a fierce and confrontational text, but presented as a kind of cryptic confessional, part memoir, part analysis, part polemic. It’s certainly a political book, although not by any means comparable to the crude tub-thumping hand-wringing liberal conscience qualms of the Faithless single, “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. But if Petridis knows this, why doesn’t he extend the comparison? Does Derrida’s Algerian and Jewish and French identity, and the removal of his citizenship under the Vichy regime, or his concern for issues of immigration and transnational politics, bear some relation to the album? Wouldn’t you say so, if that was the point you wanted to make?

Is it because the title of the Derrida text itself sounds impressive (but does it?). Does Petridis think this is a major work rather than a slim volume, in an extremely unremarkable cover in the Stanford University Press translation (the French orginal is an extravagant deluxe edition which comes with the pages uncut, a biblio-fetishist’s dream), the transcription of a paper given at a conference in Louisiana on bilingualism? Has Petridis been misled by the title (and its inclusion of the by-now-exhausted term ‘other’) into thinking this is a principal statement rather than an interesting and illuminating, but not desperately substantial work?

Does the claim that ‘all culture is colonial’, thrown away as an aside by Derrida, have anything to do with Faithless? Does it matter that we’re each colonised first of all by our own language, by our so-called mother tongue? And then by a whole series of assumptions, traditions, customs, ways of thinking, from which we cannot simply opt out? That we have to make our way as best we can by negotiating with the terms of a system which may be entirely compromised, but is the only one we have?

My guess: and that’s all it is, is that the three page press release which has riled Petridis refers to the book. But if you have any other theories, I’d be interested to know…

The “added stats” on the ad Tom mentions below…

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 287 views

The “added stats” on the ad Tom mentions below say that 44 women trialled, about 30% lost an english dress size and a total of 65% had some positive effect*. Wow, only 35% of the group experienced size gain! So overall 15% did better than doing nothing at all.

Only we don’t know that other factors weren’t controlled. Could it be that people trying a “body sculpting” product perhaps be more aware of their diet over the trial period? And in the end, a population of 44, is this statistically significant? I’m sure other PBS’ers have a stronger grasp of stats, but I seem to recall that at a population of 44 the standard error of the mean is 44–0.5 x the standard deviation, which is approx 0.15 x s. And as s in a bell distribution covers 68% of the data, it looks to me like the standard error of the mean is of a similar magnitude to the number of people who did better than doing nothing at all.

*I might be a little off in those numbers – I didn’t jot them down in my advert-pedant notebook – but they’re about right.