Posts from 7th June 2004

Jun 04

06/07 Everest 2004: Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter

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06/07 Everest 2004: Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: Be careful what you ask for… coming on Tuesday (ie tomorrow)

this climbing team, posting anonymously and melodramatically from everest over the last month, claimed b4 they started that they knew where irvine’s body lay and promise some great denouement now that they’re down and safe (if they are) (click back through the dispatches)

[my father’s mother’s brother j4ck l0ngl4nd was on the everest team which found irvine’s abandoned ice-axe in the 30s: “man wz meant to walk the ground, so STAY THERE – do not dick around” = motto of my side of the family however] [it occurs to me that it is quite easy to POST that you are high on a mountain as big as everest w/o *actually* being on it of course]

The Post-TV Diaries: part 4

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The Post-TV Diaries: part 4

During the English summer, there should be absolutely no need to watch TV. All our traditional activities such as attending car boot sales, playing amateur versions of cricket in turdy parks, erecting gazebos, and getting drunk and red on the beach come into their own. As for summer sporting fixtures: who needs to OWN a TV when you can go to the pub to watch them, and build beautiful new friendships with sweaty accountants and inebriated teenagers into the bargain?

Of course, a less traditional but equally popular summer activity is now watching OTHER people getting drunk and red, on Big Brother. And I have to confess, dear diary, that I deliberately started, and maintained, a Big Brother conversation yesterday. While on the beach. In my defence, I was talking to my dad, and we didn’t have anything else to talk about. And the only information I gleaned was that he strongly disapproves of someone called Kitten, so my BB5 innocence is still almost intact.

I realised the other day

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I realised the other day why I liked the Black Eyed Peas’ “Where Is The Love?”, Basically, it’s Americans doing a Europop tune – imagine One-T or better yet Dr.Alban doing it and you’ll see what I mean. It has just struck me that this kind of listening might offer a way into Faithless’ “Mass Destruction” too (see Alex T’s post below).


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Everything that has a beginning has an end, suggested a completely different trilogy last year. Inaccurately in my opinion. Nevertheless the loving recreation of Middle Earth in New Zealand did have an end, and it marked the cessation of some clever adapting, special effects wizardry and the arranging of a genuine cinematic event. The Return Of The King waltzed off with shed loads of Oscars too, this being what the end was partially for. But what aspect of the whole project should really be celebrated? The triumph over logistics?

The Return Of The King is a tricky book to do. Not much happens/lots happens. When your villain is a big flaming vagina on top of a far off mountain top how do you engineer a satisfactory denouement. When you have six or seven plot strands weaving in and out, how do you round it off. And how should you reflect on an film sequence that take nine to twelve hours to watch in full. It is arguable whether Peter Jackson succeeds in any of these totally, but he makes a pretty good fist of it. For my taste the visualization of the dread predicament meant that the destruction of the ring seemed minor. On the other hand the Frodo, Gollum, Sam threesome felt like the kind of small peril that the big events needed.

Is it the best of the three? (Well wait and see.) Did it deserve all the Oscars? Does it matter. It is an institution already, unassailable by critic, standing as a monument to modern film-making. Will the Harry Potter sequence end up being more vital and more important to the lives of its viewers over the next five years? Will the work-in-progress excitement that Lord Of The Rings gave us be present in other ambitious cinematic events? Who knows, but one thing that I probably won’t get again is a feeling of fulfilled relief when these three films finally drew to a close.

Harry Popster

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Harry Popster: In the third Harry Potter film there’s a scene where Professor Lupin puts a record on, just before HP practises some monster-fighting, so Harry’s battle with his worst fears has an incongruous (but effective) trad jazz soundtrack. The good-natured, slightly melancholy music works very well as a signature for the likeable Lupin – but it was still an odd moment, because otherwise I don’t think anyone in the Harry Potter films or books ever listens to music.

In the films it’s hardly surprising – having a real or even invented song on the soundtrack would puncture the bombast/magic (delete to taste). The Potter films have been remarkably restrained as far as blockbusters go – Messrs. John and Sting uncalled-on; Enya and Lennox given the day off. Instead as the end credits roll we get yet more monumental John Williams guff.

In the books, though? Lots of the appeal of Rowling’s world is centred on a whimsical transmigration of real-life elements. So we get wizard postal services, banks, scandal-sheets, sporting pin-ups… and even a Quidditch team which attracts glory-hunting fans. A magical boy band or enchanted stereo shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. It might just be that Rowling thinks pop is irrelevant to her readers’ (and by extension her characters’) lives. But the milieu of the Potter books – steam trains, boarding schools, etc. – is essentially pre-pop. One of the clever things about them is how finely Rowling judges which elements of the adult or adolescent world can make the transition to Hogwarts et al. without damaging its aura. Pop music isn’t just technological and muggle-ish, it’s also alien to most of the childrens’ classics Harry Potter harks back to. Characters in Alan Garner and Susan Cooper books certainly listen to pop – but Harry Potter is emphatically not a Garner-style childrens’ book.

Ways to tell you’re watching the game alone #1

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Ways to tell you’re watching the game alone #1

Musing that the words ‘GNEVILLE’ and ‘PNEVILLE’ would both be pronounced ‘Neville’. Then desperately trying to find something interesting about this ‘fact’.

How to be part of your national squad for euro 2004.

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How to be part of your national squad for euro 2004.

Visit the Panini website.
View their exciting selection of e-cards
Crudely photoshop (or even better, paint) a picture of your head onto a sticker.
Voila! Instant immortality.

“Hold on a second”, you’re thinking to yourself, “this can’t be right, Panini stickers are a bastion of football’s heritage, you can’t be messing around with them like that.”

Maybe someone should tell Panini about this and this (to give but two particularly excrebable examples) then? Although they might be afraid that KAREL will be after them…

For those of you not taking part in regress to your childhood sticker collecting 2004, the england stickers make the above ones look professional, image rights are a scary thing…

the Sporting class war

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the Sporting class war

So I happened to be walking past a sports shop in Leafy Uxbridge and noticed the new England football shirts were 25 quid, then I saw the other nation’s were a steep but usual 40 quid. Then though, I saw the England rugby shirts……

75 quid??????? What fresh madness is that? Is it a device to keep out undesirables?

Idiot Alan Watches Time Shift TV

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Idiot Alan Watches Time Shift TV
I (sigh) found myself watching E4+1 “live” feed of that house, and my brain was going “OMG, it’s not E4+1 it’s E4–1, this was an hour ago”. Then while subconsciously flipping this around in my head “it’s +1 but –1 time, etc” I simultaneously flipped to E4 (as the ads came on) and found myself watching E4’s real “live” feed and I think I caught myself thinking “ah but there’s a 15 minute delay, so this isn’t happening now/live either. These are events 15 minutes from now” And I’m pretty sure at that moment I was thinking 15 minutes in the future.