Jase doesn’t post as much as he used to but he has some gems in his random links section. My favourite right now is the Google Usenet Timelime which is fascinating on two fronts: firstly because it’s a piece of history and secondly for the selections they have made – the announcement of the web; Britney Spears and the first piece of spam. [via Jase Wells]
On this day…
2006: It’s Nearly Australia Day In W1
2003: Tube Train Crashes
I signed up to back the London’s bid for the 2012 Olympics because, when all’s done, I think it would be fantastic for London and the UK as a whole. So, right now, I selected The Gherkin is my computer’s desktop image. I thought it was appropriate after having wandered The City earlier in the month to see the fantastic Swiss Re tower.
I put my name to the bid earlier – particularly after watching some of these fantastic videos they’ve put together. I really think these should be given a wider audience they’re superb and they are a little hidden on the site too. Why don’t you sign up?
On this day…
2004: Transport Museum
2003: 23 Mile Traffic Snake
The Da Vinci Code is one of the more enjoyable books I have read in recent times. I guess there is added interest in trying to follow the decoding of the clues along the way. I see that Ron Howard is shooting the film and that they’re actually going to be allowed to shoot it in The Louvre, Paris.
While I was looking at the movie news, I also see that Stephen Fry will be the voice of The Guide in the upcoming adaptation of another book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. I think that’s a pretty good choice but I really wonder if the film will provide the same joy as the BBC Radio series (and the subsequent television adaption).
On this day…
2004: Naked Across Britain
2004: Shop ‘Til You Drop
2003: Lost In La Macha
2003: The Digital Music Debate
I really should start a category on London’s South Bank because I mention it a great deal and it really is one of the most wonderful areas of London. If you’re a visitor to this great city you really must spend an afternoon walking the South Bank: start at Waterloo and the London Eye and head towards Tower Bridge (and beyond). when I first arrived here it was an area that had little to offer; it was dead and quiet but now it’s vibrant and alive.
Over the past few weeks PY and I have explored a little more of London on foot and I really do enjoy the place. On the Monday after New Year we wandered around High Holborn and Farringdon areas, near The Guardian’s central London base. It was a quiet Bank Holiday and yet it was – strangely – alive. We also crossed the bridge to the Tate Gallery which is probably the only gallery space I can truly say I enjoy. The Turbine Hall, which housed The Weather Project, is currently home to Bruce Nauman’s Raw Materials – which is a soundscape of 22 spoken texts. Some are clearly audible and some not so clear but as you walk through the hall you get this most amazing sense of sound. It works better if you keep moving (rather than stopping to listen) but you’d be wise to adjust to the sound first. It wasn’t as much of a communal event as The Weather Project but it was totally unexpected, thrilling and energizing. You can get a taste online at the Tate’s site.
Last weekend we went to City Hall but this time we were able to get inside and head to the top. It’s a building of unexpected contrasts: the building looks wonderful and they have revitalised the whole area but the office space inside looks cramped and uncomfortable. Given the climbing spirals of the building I would have expected the view from the top to be better. Unfortunately, the main viewing area looks the wrong way: great views over the south but you want to see London’s landmarks. It was late in the day when we arrived which meant there were no crowds and we were able to find our house on the satellite pictures on the floor of the basement. Sadly, however, I don’t think the lighting scheme is brilliant at all – they could do so much more with it.
While we were there I rode the snow slide at The Tate (basically a silly slide that you descend almost buried in an inflatable tyre-like object). Silly but cheap and amusing. Then we crossed Tower Bridge (always a stunning experience) to go and have a look at the stunning Swiss Re tower and walk around The City – which is, of course, almost dead on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a rather unnerving contrast to London’s West End which is full of people on a Saturday.
Yesterday, we went to Marble Arch and had a go on the ice rink that has been placed there for the winter. I haven’t been on skates for years and I really liked it – although there’s no chance I could go round the rink without holding onto the side at some point. PY was not quite so in love with the experience which is a great shame and I am going to have to find ways to convince him to come again. I’ll work on it.
Once again I can honestly say I love London.
On this day…
2005: Daily Links
2003: Hooked on LBC
2003: In News
2003: Low Low Cost
So I had heard and read almost nothing about Garden State until I saw it tonight. It’s written and stars Zach Braff who is, apparently, a big hit in Scrubs (but I don’t watch it) and was in one of my favorite movies, The Broken Hearts Club (but I’d forgotten him).
The background to the plot is that Andrew Largeman (Braff) is a twenty-something actor from New Jersey who now lives in Los Angeles (which supposedly mirrors Braff’s own life). Largeman returns home for his mother’s funeral after not having been back for a decade. He has almost no relationship with his father, a bunch of slacker friends and a lot of history.
So. it’s another middle class slacker movie (as The Independent said) but it’s quite well done. It’s got elements of humour (both in dialogue and the visuals) and is well shot. Despite the slow pace of some of the film, I found myself remarkably engaged. Usually I that find films where nothing happens are hard work regardless of the abilities of the actors and directors. It simply wasn’t the case here: the opening scences of Largeman motionless in an all white bedroom listening to his father’s messgae grabbed me and I was hooked.
There are two aspects of this film that I think stand out. The first is the soundtrack. I feel a good soundtrack is usually unobtrusive and you tend not to notice it. This is one film where you have an exception to that rule. I noticed how great the soundtrack was but it didn’t take anything away from the experiennce. The imdb entry for ths film notes, “When Braff sent the script to people, he would also send them a copy of the songs which would eventually be the soundtrack (which he handpicked). That is why on the actual soundtrack album, all of the songs are in the order that they appear in the movie” [source].
The other aspect I really liked about this film is the way the depths of the Largeman character are only revealled gradually as we go through the film. Obviosuly, it’s a very common trick of any story but – sometimes – movies reveal too much too soon in a bid to hook the audience. In Garden State, that’s not the case and it works beautifully.
Certainly not the best film ever but it was a promising work for Braff and I’ll be looking our for more, particularly, if he continues blogging about his work.
On this day…
2006: links for 2006-01-12
2005: links for 2005-01-12
2004: Hiddent Stuff
2004: Make Me Write
2003: Entitlement Cards
One of the films I had been really interested in seeing this Christmas was Robert Zemeckis’ Polar Express, which has been selling out in all it’s 3D glory at the BFI London IMAX. So, tonight, we got tickets for the last screening (although I imagine this will be back quote a lot). It’s a shame that we didn’t make it before Christmas when London was lit up with Christmas sparkle as that would have added to the magic.
Some Reviewers of the film have criticised this film for being dark or scary but I didn’t see it. It’s basically the story of the boy who is doubting Santa Claus and is taken on a magical ride to the North Pole to find Christmas. And it’s filled with that wonder and magic that can only be found in really good Children’s films. Sure, the movie makers have used the 3D format to full-effect (the roller-coaster scenes are overdone in many IMAX presentations) but it shouldn’t detract from the wonder of this tale. Tom Hanks is great as the primary voice of the film which just added to the joy.
While the animation may not quite be on a par with The Incredibles it remains pretty stunning and, unlike The Incredibles, I see this film enduring. It’s a fantastic film.
On this day…
2004: Thoughtless, Instant, Throwaway Marriages
Fact: Since I was born (to today) there have been 47 UK number one hit singles containing the word ‘love’ including hits by Little Jimmy Osmond (Long Haired Lover From Liverpool), Kraftwerk (The Model / Computer Love – to give it an official title), Glenn Medeiros (Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You) and the Black Eyed Peas (Where Is The Love). Two number one hit singles had ‘sex’ in the title (Rod Stewart and Color Me Badd) but none seem to have had death in the song title.
This week’s Number One is Steve Brookstein’s version of Against All Odds which has also been a Number One selling hit for Mariah Carey & Westlife and Phil Collins.
Hours of fun to be had at everyhit.com.
On this day…