EDitorial ± 31-May-2006

It Makes People Disappear

Catch any of The Triangle, the Bank Holiday mini-series on the Beeb? It had everything: extreme weather, special effects galore, lots of people you couldn't quite place, and Sam Neill.

Suitably enough, we watched in a slightly time-delayed fashion over the three hour-and-a-bit parts and stayed the course. You had to feel for poor Lou Diamond, who could never be sure how many sons he had -- they kept disappearing -- no wonder he eventually sought out the reporter, a Michael J Fox lookalike (I should know) played by Eric Stoltz. Who, it turns out, originally had the part of Marty McFly, or so says the IMDb.

One of the other leads, the research scientist with the Oz accent, turned out to be the Scottish-voiced Mr Junior from Thomas & The Magic Railroad. And Sam Neill played not only himself, the medicinal sounding Benerall, but his dead brother Winston, distinguishable only by his cunning moustache.

Final thought: much of The Triangle was set in and around Miami, windswept and boggy. Remined me of Ely.

EDitorial ± 30-May-2006

You're An Action Figure

Not been up to The Smoke with the family for a while. Much pre-planning (the day before) meant we had reserved seats on the loco and knew precisely which bus to catch -- no. 26 from stop L -- to take us to the Bridge of Abba. Seated on the top deck, we expressly made our way along Fleet Street and past St Paul's, then hopped off and down to the riverside.

Don't remember the Eye capsules being swept with metal detectors last time. Good chance to take in some Dr Who locations for The Boy:

  • there's the clock tower (BB) that's hit by the Slitheen spaceship ("Aliens Of London")
  • in the distance is Lumic's Cyberman factory at Battersea ("The Age Of Steel")
  • and somewhere down there is home to the Nestene Consciousness ("Rose")
And back over the water by the front of the HP Sauce bottle, along Buckingham Gate to the Palace of the same name, and into the Wellington Arch just as the rain starts. Up the lift for a frighteningly close view of the largest bronze sculpture in Europe, or so I believe: crazy horses.

Come on kids, you can't be tired yet? Tubed it and walked a v. long tunnel all the way to a busy busy Science Museum. Paid our money to do the Pixar expo: pricey but well worth it. Lots of incredible Incredible designs, plus a stunning original 10 minute film taking a tour through some production sketches, and then there's the zoetrope. It's amazing: read the reviews.

And back on another punctual train in more seats of our own. Top day.

EDitorial ± 23-May-2006

Top 10 Reasons For Not Having An England Flag

Me and Sven The Svede have bags in common, most obviously that we have a young lad called Theo in our care.

Few pointers for Tord's left hand man: give The Boy plenty of exercise up the local rec, buy him a copy of Dr Who Adventures plus a Tropicaca To Go on the way back, then sit him down in front of Kerching! And make sure he reads his Biff And Chip book to you before heading up the hill to Bedfordshire. Works for me.

So you can't have failed to notice all those standards of St George hither and thither. Not all of us want to play along, so here's my own Top Ten Reasons For NOT Having An England Flag:

  1. unavailable in Waitrose, dahling
  2. that vertical stripe makes me look fat
  3. 99p for the flag, £50 for the Renault flag attachment device
  4. not the product of a Blue Peter colouring competition
  5. unwilling to endorse all that dragonslaying nonsense
  6. if I'm going to splash out, I want more than two colours
  7. couldn't cope with loss if snapped off by an undertaking cyclist
  8. don't want to upset the small but highly volatile local Togolese residents
  9. can't find one with the correct Ingerland spelling
  10. would play havoc with my drag coefficient

16 days 18 hours 14 minutes to go ...

EDitorial ± 20-May-2006

Pudding Lane Playhouse

Saturday afternoon -- raining again -- so off to the local soft play arena with The Boy and his best mate in the back.

"Dad," says The Boy, "where is Wacky Warehouse?"

"Near the cinema," I reply.

Best Mate pipes up: "Are there many cinemas?"

The Boy strides up to the plate to answer this one: "Well, there's one in Ipswich, one in Australia, one in America, one in Norwich, and one in London. And one in Chinese."

"Oh," he continues after a while, "and I think ... there was one in the Great Fire of London."

EDitorial ± 17-May-2006

Tonight We Fly

Didn't watch the Gooners in tonight's big big footy game -- well, at least not as it happened -- 'cos off to a gig. Been a fan of The Divine Comedy since they appeared on the old Radcliffe Radio 5 late night show years back, when Neil Hannon did "When The Lights Go Out", and they've not drifted from my most-played list.

Only other time I saw them live was at The Junction in cosmo Cambridge perhaps ten years ago, and that's where they resurfaced this evening.

  • frustratingly, the new album isn't due out for another few weeks
  • understandably, they played half-a-dozen as yet unheard tracks
  • amazingly, encore included a song from Fanfare For The Comic Muse, his impossible-to-get debut and deleted album

Still, great to hear some of the older songs tonight, esp. Queen Of The South (maintaining that football theme) and an impassioned Tonight We Fly ("this is the best life").

Less taken with some others, inc. Eye Of The Needle, a dirge, and an ambitious cover of The Associates' Party Fears Two: sure he's got the voice to approach Billy Mackenzie, but the chug-chugga-chug backing drowned him out. Eight piece band tonight making plenty of noise: I'd say too much.

Straight out of The Likely Lads, I'd taped the football to watch when I got back and was determined to avoid hearing the result. So it gets to the end of the gig and Mr Hannon, a Man United fan, announces delightedly to the whole crowd that Arsenal have lost. The swine.

EDitorial ± 15-May-2006

Freston Is Forty

Say it loud, say it proud, for I am now 40 flippin' years of age.

EDitorial ± 10-May-2006

Sweat And Dry

Thanks to our petite and bijou footy blog, Next Goal Wins, I know that the last four weeks have gone from cold to fair to sunny to bloomin' boiling. If you consider Tuesdays only, that is. With the odd Wednesday thrown in.

Couldn't play yesterday, in the slot we've been using for about the last 18 months, 'cos someone else had the foresight to book the pitch. I used to make the booking myself, then stopped when we failed to spot anyone else using the pitch, ever. Felt like we had squatters' rights when we saw other kick and rushers on our hallowed all-weather surface, but they wouldn't budge. I dunno, the sun pops out from behind some clouds and suddenly every Tomaszewski, Dickov and Harry Kewell dons a pair of shorts.

Because the sun is much too sultry
And one must avoid its ultry-violet ray
— Noel Coward, Mad Dogs And Englishmen
Fun and frantic 4-a-side today, as ever. Only three of us (injuries, etc.: certain sides would have not played, or perhaps decided to play, lose, then ask for a replay) as opposed to five of them: luckily we were able to nick (arguably) their best player, who happened to be wearing the wrong colour shirt, though that didn't stop us failing to score the first five goals. Then we finally put one in the bag of the onion bag, so to speak, and they visibly wilted -- actually we all were, by that point.

Back in the changing rooms, glowing from our narrow victory, I knew what it was to be a faulty radiator in the back room, the kind you can't turn off. Red face, red torso, and well red generally. That'll be the flush of success.

EDitorial ± 9-May-2006

Channel 4 100 Greatest Films

Back in 2001 -- have those list programs really been going on that long? -- Channel 4 announced the results of their poll to find the 100 Greatest Films. Ever!

(for an alternative, you could always try Barry Norman's 100 top films instead)

Here's their list:

  1. Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back
  2. The Godfather/The Godfather (Part II)
  3. The Shawshank Redemption
  4. Pulp Fiction
  5. Some Like it Hot
  6. Gladiator
  7. It's a Wonderful Life
  8. Blade Runner
  9. Schindler's List
  10. GoodFellas
  11. Jaws
  12. Psycho
  13. Apocalypse Now
  14. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  15. The Matrix
  16. Casablanca
  17. The Usual Suspects
  18. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  19. Citizen Kane
  20. Raging Bull
  21. ET
  22. Taxi Driver
  23. The Life of Brian
  24. Singin' in the Rain
  25. LA Confidential
  26. The Wizard of Oz
  27. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  28. Kes
  29. Vertigo
  30. Lawrence of Arabia
  31. Fargo
  32. Gone with the Wind
  33. Trainspotting
  34. The Full Monty
  35. The Graduate
  36. Alien
  37. The Silence of the Lambs
  38. Withnail and I
  39. The Great Escape
  40. Toy Story
  41. The Third Man
  42. Four Weddings and a Funeral
  43. The Sound of Music
  44. Fitzcarraldo
  45. Deliverance
  46. The Good the Bad and the Ugly
  47. Kind Hearts and Coronets
  48. Chinatown
  49. The Exorcist
  50. Annie Hall
  51. The Italian Job
  52. Sunset Boulevard
  53. The Jungle Book
  54. Titanic
  55. Jean de Florette/Manon des Sources
  56. Dr Strangelove
  57. Rebel Without a Cause
  58. Seven Samurai
  59. A Matter of Life and Death
  60. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  61. Secrets and Lies
  62. Blue Velvet
  63. La Dolce Vita
  64. Spartacus
  65. Metropolis
  66. Bonnie and Clyde
  67. King Kong
  68. Get Carter
  69. The Searchers
  70. The Seventh Seal
  71. Don't Look Now
  72. Brief Encounter
  73. M*A*S*H
  74. The French Connection
  75. Top Hat
  76. The Producers
  77. Three Colours Trilogy
  78. Cabaret
  79. Goldfinger
  80. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  81. The Gold Rush
  82. High Noon
  83. Saturday Night Fever
  84. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  85. Enter the Dragon
  86. Breathless
  87. Ice Cold in Alex
  88. Battleship Potemkin
  89. African Queen
  90. The General
  91. A Hard Day's Night
  92. Way Out West
  93. Henry V
  94. Easy Rider
  95. My Beautiful Laundrette
  96. Belle de Jour
  97. The Bride of Frankenstein
  98. Terminator
  99. Saturday Night Sunday Morning
  100. Do the Right Thing

Good stuff.

EDitorial ± 2-May-2006

Do The Math

I loved maths at school. I was that kid. It was blissfully second nature for me. Mental maths, marvellous. Though I remember struggling with the concept of splitting a shape in two and the two bits not necessarily being halves, if that makes sense.

So it was flattering to be asked by a friend to act as maths tutor to both her and her eldest in readiness for the latter's impending SATs. The last four Tuesday evenings, 6 'til 7pm, we've been covering fractions, decimals, percentages, subtractions, et cetera. Yum.

If that sounds like your idea of fun, here's the homework that I devised for mother and daughter tonight:

  1. 60327 – 5037
  2. 30% of £540
  3. 80% of £720
  4. for this equilateral triangle, what is angle x?
  5. for this isosceles triangle, if bottom left angle is 50 degrees, what is angle x?
  6. for this right-angled triangle, if top right angle is 20 degrees, what is angle x?
  7. list the factors of 80 (e.g. 1, 2, 4, etc.)
  8. express 0.6 as a fraction
  9. simplify the fraction 48/64
  10. 1.02 – 0.7
First person to email correct answers gets a mention. And do show your working.

EDitorial ± 1-May-2006

Dolmio, Apr 2006

They say that time only appears to accelerate as you age. Dunno what happened to last month since it's already time for another end-of-month Dolmio (Doings Of Last Month Innoparticular Order) round up.

That is to say, an attempt to capture past(a) events before they slip... my... mind. April 2006 was spent:

  • goggling at the meteor shower and the scary droid ("Your robot is defective") in the great fun Zathura
  • Dr Who 1: scavenging for promotional DVDs given away with The Soaraway Sun: many thanks to the Martlesham Heath newsagents
  • Dr Who 2: anticipating the fortnightly new edition of Doctor Who Adventures: got stationery set and Slitheen whoopee cushion so far
  • Dr Who 3: finding the Peter Cushing 1965 Doctor Who & The Daleks a tad lacklustre
  • working on a new website for a local cycle shop: know anything about wheelbuilding?
  • managing the odd frighteningly early night (though not tonight)
  • admiring Douglas Coupland's eye for a phrase in Eleanor Rigby
  • listening to the sounds of 20 years ago, esp. Prefab Sprout's Steve McQueen and The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy and the Lash
  • switching to flax seed oil for my Omega-3 but still struggling to swallow
  • transfixed by more mini aeroplanes, rocking horses and shadowy creatures from Hiraki Sawa at Colchester's The Minories
  • not having enough cash for a milkshake at Sainsbury's caff
  • progressing from Sudocrem to Diprobase for the skin treatment
  • opting for Danny Baker's Radio London show on the BBC Radio Player
  • baffled by too many buttons on shiny new Nokia mobile phone

And that was April 2006.