And when there was one set of footprints, that's when I was on my pogostick.

Archive for the category “Media”

Bad Headline

One of my free local papers had an interesting front-page headline this week.  It does seem a bit specific (and somewhat prophetic) though – I mean, if they already know that someone else will die within the week, wouldn’t you think they’d add in more guards, or make the area a bit safer during that time?

(And yes, I know what they meant to say – but it’s not what it actually says!  Or at least it’s rather more open to interpretation, anyway)

Slight Demoralisation

Over the last couple of weeks, one of the satellite TV channels has been repeating one of my all-time favourite series, “The Closer“, and I’ve been recording and re-watching them. In some episodes it shows its age (it first went out in 2005) with the technology, phones etc., but that’s pretty much to be expected now.

Right from the start I liked it, each episode contained all the clues and ideas needed to solve the crimes, which raised it above an awful lot of the procedural dramas around. It was intelligent in a number of ways, but there was also a focus on personalities, clashes, and idiosyncracies.

I was well into it anyway, and then the last three episodes of the first season hooked me completely.  I won’t go into the details, but the final episode of Season One has the best apology ever seen on TV, and it still makes me laugh, even knowing it was coming.

However, it also has a bit of a downside.  The writing is so sharp, the characterisation so good (in my opinion, naturally) that I watch it – and a couple of other things, particularly “The West Wing” – and just find myself thinking that I’ll never be able to write like that.

I’m going to damn well try, don’t get me wrong, but yeah, it still makes me a bit demoralised about the whole thing. Fun and games.

A busy week

Suddenly, it’s a week since I last updated anything here – and there’s a good reason (or ten) for that.

Mainly, the good reason is that I’ve been sodding busy.

Since last I wrote here, there’s been (in no particular order)

  • Driving to Marlow for a late lunch at the Hand and Flowers
  • Driving to London (Saturday at ungodly o’clock)
  • Visiting Meatopia – on the Saturday, along with several friends
  • Seeing The The’s “Infected” film at the ICA in London on the Saturday evening
  • Staying overnight in London
  • Visiting Meatopia on the Sunday, just me, but ended up meeting several other people, as well as starting some business discussions (Win!)
  • Driving home from London, having walked 20 miles over the two days
  • A vaguely normal Monday, with added shopping and faffery
  • A normal Tuesday working, then meeting friends and going to the cinema to see Hell or High Water – heartily recommended
  • A semi-standard Wednesday, and then cinema to see Morgan – also recommended, for different reasons, and thoughts on both films will follow
  • And tonight, being at the Milton Keynes Geek Night, just to top things off.

So yes, not much going on at all.

It’s been pretty positive all round, but it has left me feeling like a stunned monkey. So there’ll be more writing as and when I get round to it.  I’m back in London this weekend, but look like having one day that’s (currently) quiet, so that’s at least vaguely promising…

Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy

Following on from yesterday’s post about my most recent day trip to London, this one focuses on the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the RA.

It’s a great exhibition, and shows a wide range of Weiwei’s works, including his massive (and understandable) loathing of China.

The first thing you see, as you enter the RA’s courtyard, are the trees, made of assorted pieces of wood

TreesHidden in there as well is what looks like a knackered leather armchair. Only it turns out to be made from black marble…

In the exhibition itself, there are just so many different things. Tables that have been melded with timbers from 14th century temples, and/or bent to rest with legs against walls, epic cubes (including one that is a ton of compressed tea leaves), video installations, 3000 porcelain crabs, and many others.

The cubes are fantastic, and a particular favourite of mine was the wooden epic-scale puzzle box (that needs two people to get it to work) which was just beautiful, and so tactile…

Mystery BoxThere’s also a work called ‘Straight’, which is entirely constructed from steel reinforcing rods, and is a thing of beauty. (Although you do wonder just how long it took to get it all to work!)

Straight - Steel rodsOn the walls in that room there are also two panels, listing every single identified body from the 2008 earthquake. Just the scale, the number of names, is gob-smacking, and upsetting in a strange way.

There’s also a lot of humour in the exhibition – surprisingly so, and in contradiction to what I’d imagined and understood of Weiwei’s work. My personal favourites of the entire exhibition are the two wallpaper designs. (Yes, wallpaper)  The first is this, whole patterns created from a stencil of a man’s torso and arm, ending in a fist with a raised middle finger.

wallpaper1I think it’s the first ever wallpaper I’ve seen and gone “Yeah, I could live with that”. Although at nearly £500 per roll, I won’t be able to do so…

The second wallpaper, “Golden Age” is even more clever. Surveillance cameras and Twitter birds predominate

wallpaper2And then you look closer, and realise that in every Twitter bird, there’s Ai Weiwei’s face. And that’s really clever.


There are many, many other pieces – in a variety of sizes, materials, and styles. (I also loved the chandelier built from bicycle wheels) It’s an impressive body of work, and I suspect a number of pieces will stick with me for quite a while.

All told, I loved the exhibition. It’s so much better than I’d expected/assumed, and is so worth going to see.

Bike Chandelier

Even better, the RA are actively encouraging people to take photos of the exhibits, to promote it themselves, and to touch most of the items. It’s very tactile, very open – and so nice to see that kind of understanding. (Although they did still tell off the German who slammed his camera and bag onto one of the bent tables, impervious to the fact it was an exhibit – but you can’t do much about idiots, in fairness)

The only (small) downside is that for the price you’re paying to see the exhibit, and the fact it’s only ticketed admission, it was still crowded. I would rather that there were fewer people allowed in at once, and thus those people can see the exhibits better, without being being constantly blocked, wandered into, and having others drifting into one’s eyeline. But then, I’m an antisocial git.

All told though, it’s great. I’m actually considering going again before it finishes…

Longest Reign

Today, Queenie becomes the longest-reigning monarch of the UK – 65 days, 7 months and 2 days (at the time of writing, naturally)

I’m not the greatest fan of the monarchy – although neither am I a disliker of it as such, I’m just completely ambivalent about the entire thing – but that’s one heck of a time, however you look at it.

Whatever though, it’s always good to be able to resurrect this image – and yes, I know, it’s Photoshopped, rah rah – which you can’t help imagine is what she’s doing to Charles on a regular basis…


The Beginning of The End – 2015

ScroogeIt’s the start of September, and that means that we’re in the run-up to the Festering Season.

The signs are all there – X-Factor started last weekend, and Strictly Come Dancing starts this coming weekend.  I don’t watch either of them, but they’re both timed to finish up just before the Festering Season, and as such they qualify as the harbingers of doom.

I’m sure there are other pre-cursors to it (perfume ads on TV, for one) but these two are the main ones I notice now. It’s a sad state of affairs.

2014 Media – Films

In 2014, I saw 64 films at the cinema

As for the film count, I kept track. I do get a summary count from Cineworld – but they operate on May to May, which is the anniversary of when I started the account with the Unlimited Card. So I keep track for the calendar year instead. It’s a bit geeky (I know, who’d have thought, with me) but it’s of interest to me, if no-one else.

I won’t list them all – that’s definitely of interest to no-one else, and my film taste is frequently bloody awful.

Anyway, of those 64 films, only one wasn’t at a Cineworld (as usual, taking Father to see the Hobbit film at the closer cinema, which is an Odeon) because of that Unlimited Card.

Currently, that Unlimited card costs me £16.40 a month, which makes just under £200 a year. (£196.80, if we’re being accurate)  A single adult ticket to my local Cineworld cinema is £10.30. Seeing two films a month means the ticket pays for itself.

Now, it’s hard to work out the true savings, because obviously without that card, I would most likely have not gone to see as many films as I have. I’d have still gone, but only seen maybe half as many, even a third as many.

But even if we go right down to seeing a third as many films at full price as I have with the Unlimited, that’d be 21 films at Cineworld. So that would still be £216.30 – and that means that even at the most basic level, I’ve still saved at least £20 on tickets.  Looking at seeing half the films, that would be 31 films – which at full price would’ve cost me £320 – and the Unlimited ticket would’ve saved me £122.50.

As with the book target, I don’t know if I’ll see as many films in 2015. I’ll still see a fair amount – and as we’ve shown, as long as it’s more than two a month, that card is paying for itself.  That’ll do me for the moment.

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