Yearly archives: 2006

If looks could kill, I'd kill your television

The BBC is doing a deal with Azureus to distribute its programs on the internet. Programmes will be distributed using Zudeo, a file sharing site/ software combination. I’m not so sure about the DRM they insist on sticking on the videos, but it sounds like a step forward.

Elsewhere, the Beeb has an article about the spread of “pirate TV”.

(Kill Your Television, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin)

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I sit and wait for you cause' this was never over

Several tons of weapons grade mercury, sunk with U-864 near the end of World War Two, are in danger of leaking their contents into the sea off Norway. Recovery of the submarine would be too risky, so there are plans to encase it in gravel and sand to keep the metal locked in.

(U Boat, Kasabian)

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Either up your nose or through your veins, with nothing to gain except killing your brain

I was just pondering the whole “Piracy funds terrorism/drug dealing” line. I bet, backed up by a little research, it would be easy to find a list of entertainment executives who donated to NORAID (I started doing this, but the first site offering a list of donors was stormfront, a self confessed white supremacist site. My days of surfing hate sites from work are long gone.) And it’s well documented how many musicians do drugs.

So how about a Tshirt with a picture of Pete Doherty on the front and a slogan along the lines of “Record sales fund this man’s drug habit. For his sake- download.”

(White Lines, Grandmaster Flash)

Oh, the weather outside is frightful 3

It could be Seasonal Affective Disorder, a natural inclination or the way the whole of December has become a placeholder for the commercial festival that is Christmas, but this last week before the holiday is bringing me down. It’s so hard to plan anything beyond the week and a bit of winter festival, which can be annoying.

But motivation is at hand in the form of another Problogger competition courtesy of Darren Rowse. He wants an end of year list, looking forward or back. I’ll do a review of the year some other time, let’s look to the future now, it’s only just begun.

To do in 2007-

Average 1000 words a day. That should mean write every day, but more likely will be achieved in bursts of creativity. The plan is to get Post & Publish rewritten in the style of Boyfriend Season and sent to publishers and agents. Shorter stuff, like So Much To Answer For and my truncated NaNoWriMo story, will get bundled into PDFs and sold through the site.

One product a month. At least one, this shouldn’t be an average. The best moneyspinners this year have been the Small Scale Customs stuff and the Poser backgrounds. I need to get my finger out and make, and promote, more of them.

Talk to more people. Every so often I’ll have a conversation with someone I know that goes something like-

Me: ‘I’m really quite shy.’

Them: ‘No you’re not.’

Me: ‘Yes I am.’

Them: ‘No you’re not.’ etc.

I really am crap at talking to strangers, and I’ll go and hide in the corner at parties (at least until I’ve had too much to drink, which is another matter). So I really need to learn some conversational tricks to get past that initial reticence. The good thing about talking to more people is that I’ll get to hear more tales, always good for inspiration.

Move more, eat less. It might happen.

Be happy with how I make a living. I’ve never had a truly satisfying job. Such things may not exist. But I can at least try to find one that isn’t so demoralising. Ideally I’d like to be making money from writing and my websites. I’ve said before that I’d accept living on less if it meant I was independent of an employer, and the quest to do so goes on.

Sent from my phone. To be edited and added to later.

(Let It Snow, Dean Martin [and many others over the years])

Update Now with added linkage. If you can think of anything I need to do next year, please add it to the comments.

Been around the world and found, That only stupid people are breeding

We’re not getting any smarter. It seems that the results of standardised IQ tests are no longer rising. The belief is that humans are reaching the limits of certain cognitive functions and need to start working to improve ourselves in other areas.

(Harvey Danger, Flagpole Sitter)

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originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Parched tea bar is rapidly becoming a regular haunt on Saturdays in town. They serve refreshing teas, hangover teas and aphrodisiac teas, amongst others. After the chaos of Christmas shopping (I still have nothing, goat time when I get home) it’s good to take the time out to watch jasmine unfurl.


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My Name is Modesty

For all my comic geek credentials, I know precious little about Modesty Blaise beyond the fact that she was a character in a newspaper adventure strip. I had to refer to wikipedia for more details of Modesty’s life before this film.

My Name is Modesty is quite true to the character’s previous appearances, even if creator Peter O’Donnell isn’t entirely happy with it. It isn’t, however, the film the box art promises. Rather than a caper-ish story of espionage and spy-jinks we get something that looks like the feature length first episode of an abandoned Alias rip off television series. It’s “presented” by Quentin Tarantino, but more because he wants to use the character himself than for any artistic merits of the film.

Her casino and gang controlling boss killed in an ambush, Modesty must protect her employees from a man intent on stealing the funds of an upcoming drug deal. Bartering hostages against questions she challenges him to roulette- the holder of the most chips after every three spins getting to ask something or see someone go free. Losing a lot more than she ought to, Modesty gives up the story of her early life- how she was a child in the Balkans who escaped a camp with mentor and father figure Lob and finally came into the employment of gang leader Henri Louche.

The film’s pacing is stilted and there’s no real tension. The roulette game, which could have been an interesting moment in amongst action scenes, is dragged out for far too long. Only at the very end do we get to see the Modesty we’ve been promised, and then it’s not as well choreographed as you’d hope.

The actors were all a bit wooden, and they weren’t helped by a basic script. Leading lady Alexandra Staden is attractive in a refreshingly non-Hollywood way, if a little frail and pale for someone who spent her adolescence and early adulthood trekking around the Mediterannean. I’d like to see more of her as an action heroine, but in a role that suggested more English rose with extra thorns than feral kid from the Balkans made good.

More Modesty Blaise stories.

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It's back… and this time it's personal.

Futurama, the spin off from The Simpsons got unfairly cancelled. The good news is that the creators are making a new series.

The new series will carry on two years after season 5 and they will be addressing the Fry/Leela relationship pretty much straight away.


Futurama Series 1
Futurama Series 2
Futurama Series 3
Futurama Series 4
The Simpsons

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With enough soap you can blow up just about anything….

This week’s review is not so much at the cinema, more on DVD. The film is of course Fight Club.

Fight Club tells the story of an office worker (Edward Norton – “Red Dragon“, “American History X“) bored with his life and suffering from insomnia. He starts attending groups of terminally people, just to feel a release. Marla (Helena Bonham Carter – “Planet of the Apes“) then appears on the scene and while she is there, he feels nothing and drifts back in to the insomnia.

His life then changes when he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pit – “Troy“, “Ocean’s Eleven“, “Snatch“) a soap maker and part time terrorist. They start a Fight Club to feel the release again, and progress from there.

The film tells you about little things that you have seen in the cinema but choose to ignore (like the cigarette burns) and what they mean. I don’t watch this movie over and over, because I feel that would ruin it, but when watched occassionally, you notice the little jokes you don’t get the first time around. “Flashback humour” being one of them.

The story is based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk and is a very good adaptation. Not easy, as you will find out if you watch the film.

It is nice to now, in a world of growing terrorism treats, that this movie exists, especially with it describing the ways how to make bombs.

Remember: The first rule of fight club is… You do not talk about fight club.

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Peak blogging

Analysts believe that blogging will peak next year, when the phenomenal sign up rate flattens out because everyone who was ever likely to start a blog finally has. At present growth rates, that will mean around 100 million blogs, though nearly half of them will be effectively dead, having not been updated in over three months.

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Silent Bob listens

Kevin Smith’s previously unpublished celebrity iTunes playlist. It’s time to do as he demands and put together my own playlist with explanations. However, to keep the usual suspects from surfacing, this is going to be based upon the year just gone.

James – Sit Down/ Oasis – Live Forever/ Stone Roses – I am the Ressurection

The Manchester Passion was one of the big events of the year, with something for everyone whether they were religious or not. My video of it can be found here.

Fun Loving Criminals- Scooby Snacks

Because there’s something so satisfying about a crowd full of people in a mill town shopping square on an overcast Sunday all bawling “Any of you fucking pigs move, I’ll execute every last motherfucking one of you!” Flickr photos tagged with “Oldham Festival”. More photos here.

Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5/ The Wonderstuff – Welcome to the Cheap Seats

Tom Hingley and the Lovers opened their set at the Blackburn Arts in the Park event with a belting version of Saturn 5 and then went on to play an Inspirals nostalgia set when they noticed how the old farts at the left side of the stage loved it so. I can’t remember whether The Wonderstuff played Welcome to the Cheap Seats in their set, but it seems apt for a free festival. Photos here. Buy Abba Are The Enemy by Tom Hingley and the Lovers. Wonderstuff stuff. Inspiral Carpets stuff

Liam Frost – The Mourners of St Pauls/ Aim – Demonique

I saved Dpercussion. I even had a sticker that said so. Liam Frost does damn fine melodic songs. Everyone else was hot for the Pipettes, but I wasn’t that impressed. Far better music, and a much more attractive front lady, was provided by Aim. I don’t remember whether they did Demonique, but I chose it because it’s one of the scariest pieces of moody music I’ve ever heard. Dpercussion photos here.

REM – At My Most Beautiful/ Alice Cooper – Poison

Key songs from the two weddings I attended this year.


Songs to get buried to
Music to get laid to
A short favourites list

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Hobby's Annual

It’s been a long time since I saw one of these in a newsagents, I thought they must have gone out of print. So it was a surprise to find the 37th Hobby’s Annual whilst out on a lunch break. (The apostrophe is all their doing, by the way.)

The Annual is a large catalogue of craft and modelling stuff with a few articles and free plans thrown in for good measure. The bias is toward doll’s houses and crafts, but there’s some useful stuff for the modeller hidden away in there. I’m particularly interested in the casting and moulding supplies they stock because I want to start producing 3d stuff for Small Scale Customs at some point.

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Wigan Model Railway Show 2006, part 2

More photos from Sunday’s show. It sounds a bit strange, but the least interesting part of model railways for me are the actual trains. So you’ll see a bias in this gallery toward landscape, architecture, vehicles and vignettes. More photos to follow.

Pictures from 2005’s show can be seen here.

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