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December 1, 2000
[crime] The Jigsaw Man — Interesting profile of the man who inspired Robbie Coltrane’s Cracker… ‘The hearing will concentrate on the role of Britton in the investigation into the killing of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common in London. One allegation is that he offered support and advice to the police not backed by accepted scientific practice as they prepared a “honeytrap” for the prime suspect; he is also accused of having exaggerated claims about the effectiveness of his methods.’
[comics] Warren Ellis releases PR for his latest comic:. ‘MINISTRY OF SPACE is an English science-fictional idyll: a fantasia on the notion of a British space programme that outraced the rest of the world, as found in such as Dan Dare. Now that Britannia rules the waves of space, a utopian green-field England plies ships to the Moon, to Venus, to Victoria Station in low Earth orbit. This is the Ministry that sent a colonisation flotilla to Mars in 1963. The Ministry that destroyed a city and ran an exploration program unseen in human history. A Golden Age – and what it cost.’
December 2, 2000
[comics] suck.com talks about ‘the long fruitful death’ of comics…. ‘Why comic books? And why now? Fifty years since their brief flirtation with becoming a widely-read mass medium, seven years into a sales decline that changed comics’ status from a profitable but secondary magazine market to an absolutely marginal feeder industry for television and film, what is so seductive about the comic book that it continues to intrigue so many serious-minded adults and aesthetes?’ [via Barbelith Underground]
[books] Jorn from Robot Wisdom has a great list of links about Tom Wolfe. Here’s a chapter from The Bonfire of the Vanities. ‘Sherman leaned back in his chair and surveyed the bond trading room. The processions of phosphorescent green characters still skidded across the faces of the computer terminals, but the roar had subsided to something more like locker-room laughter. George Connor stood beside Vic Scaasi’s chair with his hands in his pockets, just chatting. Vic arched his back and rolled his shoulders and seemed about to yawn. There was Rawlie, reared back in his chair, talking on the telephone, grinning and running his hand over his bald pate. Victorious warriors after the fray . . . Masters of the Universe . . . And she has the gall to cause him grief over a telephone call!’
December 3, 2000
[weblogs] Meg’s Under.Construction has got off to a good start with a number of interesting posts… ‘Welcome to under.construction. This weblog is intended as a forum for discussion of cyberculture, community, communication and other cultural facets of cyberspace. It’s also intended to be a repository for interesting stories and links – an evolving, collaborative bookmark list.’
[comics] Jon Katz reviews Unbreakable. A film which improbably casts Samuel L. Jackson as a comic book collector….‘The Superhero stories are among the great and most enduring American myths, an often unacknowledged part of this country’s original and unique folklore. One of the distinctive traits of the Superhero genre in comics is the ambivalence of many of the characters. Heroes (Batman, Spiderman, the literal Superheroes themselves) are often innocents. They are ambivalent, reluctant. They are far from indestructible, in fact they are all oddly vulnerable. They never asked for their gifts or reveled in their powers.’ [Related Links: Unbreakable Trailer, Unbreakable at IMDB]
December 4, 2000
[web] Danny O’Brien discusses web stalking‘Over the decades I have been online, it is incredible how many personal tidbits I have let slip onto the net. These days, a determined net stalker, armed with a search engine, could find out where I have lived in the past five years, my previous employers, a summary of my political interests, the names of all of my close family, and three or four of my most recent haircuts.’
[quote] The Wisdom of Steve Aylett: ‘One golfer a year is hit by lightning. This may be the only evidence we have of god’s existence.’
[weblog] Great archive of links about articles on weblogs [via Under.Construction]
December 5, 2000
[chat] The Barbelith Underground discuss what will be the next name on Madonna’s t-shirt. Saveloy sez: ‘”Your Mum” is what it will say. When you next see your mum, she’ll be wering a t-shirt that says “Yeah, that’s right, ME.” Later, Madonna will play a gig with EVERYBODY’s mum coming on in turn to do an excruciatingly embarrassing dance, and thus the whole world will be united in humiliation and so drawn together and there will be no more war or death.’
[it must be love] BT’s lastest banner ad for ISDN. ‘If we can still monopolise it, we can still be cack at it.’
[simpsons] What more do you need from a link? The 50 Greatest Moments in Simpsons History. From Rosebud: ‘Homer: “Mmm… 64 slices of American cheese.” “64… ” [eats a slice] “63… ” [eats another] [Next morning] “Two… “[slowly] “One… “[finished] [Marge walks in] Marge: “Have you been up all night eating cheese?” Homer: [slurred] “I think I’m blind… “ [via LukeLog]
December 6, 2000
Ghost World Cover[comics] Excellent interview with Dan Clowes in Salon. The humdrum life of a cartoonist: ‘Clowes and his wife, Erika, whom he met on a small-scale California signing tour in 1992 (“I had just gone through a depressing separation from my first wife, and was trying to escape from the grim horribleness of Chicago; a beautiful young woman in Berkeley asked me to sign her underwear, and the rest is history”), will soon vacate the house for a larger one not far away.’ [Related Links: Buy Ghost World. You won’t regret it. Via Robot Wisdom]
[annoying introspection] Wherever You Are asks Have You Ever?. Vaughan has turned weblogging into a destressing late night party session of Truth or Dare with a bunch of complete strangers…
[ann widdecombe] Hey Kids! Put down that Playstation 2! Come and check out The Widdy Web Junior!! ‘I am called a Member of Parliament. We call this MP for short. A Member of Parliament looks after a lot of people in an area which is called a constituency. My constituency stretches from Maidstone almost to Tunbridge Wells.’
December 7, 2000
[comics] Great interview with Evan Dorkin in Psycomic. On Worlds Funniest: ‘I think a lot of these guys who know the DC stuff just have a fondness for these old comics. We aren’t trying to do anything Earth-shattering here. This isn’t the Dark Knight of humor books. It’s just a goofy, satirical, jerky funny book about how dumb comics are. And how great and loveable they can be at the same time. It’s a very sweet book even though we kill billions of people over and over again.’
[music] Julian Lennon reflects on John ‘Julian, Lennon’s son from his first marriage, described his father as a “guiding light” who was “sucked into a black hole”. He said he went through “love/hate relationships” with him whether he was there or not. “I wonder what it would have been like if he were alive today,” he wrote. “I guess it would have depended on whether he was `John Lennon’ (Dad) or `John Ono Lennon’ (manipulated lost soul).”‘ [Related Links: News Posting on Julian Lennon’s Website]
[film] Media Nugget of the Day covers Touch of Evil‘Charlton Heston as a Mexican (yes, Mexican) narcotics investigator is just a bonus. Welles himself plays an obese and corrupt Texas cop, and Janet Leigh is wonderfully innocent as Heston’s American bride. Welles set out to make the ultimate B-movie and with the combination of pulp-novel plot, camp dialogue, and sleazy locales, he inevitably succeeded.’
December 8, 2000
[comics] It seems that Kevin Smith does not read many Warren Ellis comics…. ‘I just hope that the comics field never loses its luster for me the same way it seems to have for Ellis. If I ever wind up a githeaded pillock who takes shots at a newcomer who’s sold tens of thousands of more comics than I did their first time up at bat, someone please pull a mylar bag (and board) over my head and cut off my air supply. Life’s too short to keep score like that.’
[books] From BooksUnlimited — Five minutes with Naomi Klein. ‘…in Britain I think there are a few things that have put the discussion around the difference between branding and advertising into the public discourse. One of those things has been the branding of Britain – the whole idea of very consciously building an identity around a country. I also think that having Richard Branson as a kind of rock star CEO (he’s basically the most well known CEO in Britain) has taught people in Britain a lot about what branding means. Here you have a company that is all brand, that is all about extending into new areas, about building these branded temples. It is really about selling an idea, selling a persona as opposed to selling products and that’s something that’s quite difficult to grasp. That’s why I think the discourse around branding is a lot more advanced in Britain than anywhere else.’
[kill!] KILL! DIE! KILL! Hamster Blast. Ah… I feel better now…
December 9, 2000
[history] Interesting page that looks at how the major TV channels (particularly the BBC) in the UK reacted to the news that Princess Diana was dead. ‘In the early hours, the BBC were quite happy to play this interview with eye witness Michael Soloman sourced from CNN. For some reason they cut the part at the end where he says “Baba Booey!”. As Private Eye reports, this is the catch phrase of American Shock Jock Howard Stern who encourages his listeners to phone CNN with bogus testimony of breaking news stories.’
[burchill] John Lennon? What a phoney! ‘Ah, the Yoko years! Move over Romeo and Juliet, Dante and Beatrice and Jimmy and Janette Krankie, and let this pair of lovers show you how it’s really done! In reality, of course, their alliance was a fetid mess of domestic violence, drug addiction and mutual adultery – hey, if I’d wanted that, I could have got it at home. After the initial provincial excitement of copping off with a “Jap”, as Lennon so frequently referred to his lady love, I think it fair to say that there wasn’t even a great deal of physical attraction – on either side, and who can blame either one after seeing that album cover?’ [Related Links: It’s Fandabidozi! It’s Krankie Web]
[top trumps] Prostitute Trading Trumps. ‘Pete’s gone for an advanced tactic here. There’s not much text information on the card, so he’s going for a picture play. The more nudity the better. Two breasts beats a buttock and a half by a mile. Matthew wins.’ [via Pete@Bugpowder who also hosts an excellent comic related weblog]
December 10, 2000
[savile] Morrisey Investigates… Jimmy Saville. ‘The first recorded instance of this charming man Jimmy Saville was in 1765 when the local minister of the small village of Piddletrenthide in Dorset recorded ” a man claiming witchcraft” who said he could make all our dreams come true. He proceeded to light up a magic stick in his mouth – he called this witchcraft a “cigar” then gave each of us badges reading “Jim Hath Fixed It For Me?” We naturally tried to burn him at the stake but he managed to flee before we could catch him. It seems certain that this was Saville.’
[watching] Magnolia. ‘I’ll tell you the greatest regret of my life: I let my love go.’Earl Patridge. [Related Links: Magnolia Trailer]
[state of mind] Happy? Most of this article seems pretty self-evident to me… ‘Depression, unhappiness and happiness can be understood and dealt with only by understanding how we each interpret ourselves and our world. We create our own individual interpretations, and our interpretations determine what we do and feel. We cannot always change what is happening to us, but we are always free to change how we interpret what is happening to us.’ [Coincidentally, whilst reading the ‘Happy?’ article I was also checking out my Amazon personal recommendations… they had chosen for me: You Are Worthless. :) ]
[666] I’m wondering… Does the devil have the best web designers? Church of Satan vs. Church of England.
December 11, 2000
[politics] More on the Widdy Web from Simon Hoggart in the Guardian. ‘I found myself rather moved. Miss Widdecombe pretending to be horrified by something Jack Straw has said is much sillier than her thoughts about her cats, which at least are sincere and passionately felt.’ [via Pete@Bugpowder]
[books] Interesting interview/profile of Zadie Smith in Books Unlimited. ‘White Teeth is a rich, sprawling domestic epic, about how families and people come together and fall apart in the most unlikely ways. It’s also very much a book about modern London, a city in which 40% of children are born to at least one black parent, a city in which the terms black and white become less and less relevant as we gradually meld into different shades of brown. White Teeth reflects a new generation for whom race is the backdrop to daily life rather than the defining characteristic of existence. Some people have said Smith is depoliticising race, removing it from its historical context, others say she’s ahead of her time, representing modern London as it really is for the first time.’
[online comics] Been meaning to blog the for ages… an excellent online comic called True Artist Tales. Here’s two favourite strips of mine Good Grief and The Not-So-Secret Life of Plants.
December 12, 2000
[books] Tom Wolfe’s Hooking Up Digested by Books Unlimited. ‘The answer may be found among the new neuroscientists. We are what we are. Our brains are hot-wired, a genetically predetermined series of electromagnetic switches. There is no such things as consciousness, guilt or freewill. This is not a popular line of enquiry, and even as I write the evolutionary apologists are fighting a revisionist battle for our souls. I predict that as all the accepted 21st-century mantras slip back into the primordial ooze, a new theory will emerge. It will feel solid. And it will be named God.’
[films] Top 50 films voted by females at IMDB vs. Top 50 films voted by males at IMDB.
December 13, 2000
[books] Nice review of Hunter S Thompson’s new bookFear and Loathing in America: the Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist 1968-1976. ‘In 1975, sent to Vietnam by Rolling Stone to gloat over the withdrawal of American troops, Thompson wrote an uncharacteristically deferential letter to a Vietcong official, requesting an interview. He apologised for his typing, but assured the colonel that, ‘I am one of the best writers currently using the English language as both a musical instrument and a political weapon.’ It was sweetly naive of him to imagine that military despots value such credentials; nevertheless, his self-assessment was just. The music made by the language, in his use of it, resembles the percussive iteration of gunfire, or the fulmination of an exploding grenade.’
[politics] Kiss of death — astrologer predicts that Gore will win. ‘”Mercury is going into Sagittarius,” she explains. “This is a move that puts the emphasis on truth, and things being out in the open. My assumption from this is that the recount will be allowed to continue. It would be the way to find out the truth and not having anything hidden.”‘ [via Guardian Weblog]
[music] Oops! Slim Shady Did It Again. Enimen’s Slim Shady to the tune of Oops! I did it again.
December 14, 2000
[god is everywhere] LinkMachineGo is proud to present the link of the year… It does not get more profane or blasphemous than this… religious sex toys… Who – *CHOKE!* wants a Baby Jesus butt-plug or a Jackhammer Jesus? ‘Jesus was a carpenter. Now he’s a powertool.’ [via the Warren Ellis forum on Delphi]
[reading] The New New Thing by Michael Lewis. ‘The truth was that no casual observer could say when Clark was working and when he was playing. In part this was because, to Clark’s way of thinking, the big distinction wasn’t between “work” and “play” but between “creating new technology for money” and “creating new technology for pleasure.” In part it was because there was no distinction at all.’
December 15, 2000
[politics] ‘NOBODY expects the Liberal Elite! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.’ [Related Links: The Spanish Inquisition – Monty Python]
[tech] Interesting article on the first email message. It turns out it wasn’t in the same league as the first message sent by telegram — ‘What hath god wrought!’ ‘Sometime in late 1971, a computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson sent the first e-mail message. “I sent a number of test messages to myself from one machine to the other,” he recalls now. “The test messages were entirely forgettable. . . . Most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP or something similar.” It seems doubtful that “QWERTYIOP” will make it into the history books. And Tomlinson’s name hardly lives in the public mind. When he is remembered at all, it is as the man who picked @ as the locator symbol in electronic addresses.’ [via Slashdot]
[email] The Claire Swire Email Meme story makes it onto the BBC… ‘The e-mail contained a couple of smutty jokes and an exchange which included a female employee giving explicit details of a sexual act. The e-mail, initially sent on 7 December, quickly passed outside the company to other prestigious law firms in London before making its way across the world. Up to a million people are now thought to have read what was meant for private consumption amongst friends.’ [Related Links: Claire Swire Story on the Register]
December 16, 2000
[comics] Warren Ellis on the American Elections‘Let me first congratulate my American readers for finally having a President selected for them. My contacts in the American political power structure inform me that the American national anthem will be changed in January to “Duelling Banjos” from the film DELIVERANCE.’ [Related Links: Duelling Banjos MIDI, Deliverance]
[memes come together?] Tell me… am I CLAIRE SWIRE or NOT?
December 17, 2000
[comics] Time picks the Best Comics of 2000. [via Comix Mailing List]
[hoax] Very well done hoax. Claims that Eminem was killed in car crash. Had me fooled for about a minute this morning….
[eminem hoax] Another Eminem is dead hoax using Ananova this time… ‘Mathers, who authorities believe was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was behind the wheel of a Saturn coupe that witnesses say swerved to avoid a slow moving vehicle, then lost control and slammed into a grove of trees. The car was crumpled by the impact, making extraction of Mather’s body very difficult. He was declared dead on the scene by paramedics who arrived a short time later.’ [Related Links: Explanation here?, Ananova link via Wacky Brit]
December 18, 2000
[am i this or not?] Tell me… am I REALLY A STIFF or NOT?
[ad] Great spoof of the White Horses Guinness advert…. [requires Quicktime]
[weblogs] The Barbelith Collective — the weblog for ‘cool egghead stoner motherfuckers’.
December 19, 2000
[film] Excellent collection of articles from Time covering Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. ‘As the sage said: dying is easy, filmmaking is hard. But everyone was so serious on Crouching Tiger because Lee, who made his reputation with adult dramas-of-manners like The Wedding Banquet and Sense and Sensibility, had a child inside screaming to get out. He was finally ready to pay homage to his lifelong ardor for martial-arts novels and pictures. He had made beautiful films; now he would bend his considerable artistry to make, dammit, a movie.’
December 20, 2000
[linkmachinego] Where LinkMachineGo and TimeMachineGo come from… The Invisibles by Grant Morrison. ‘…Mason receives a fax from one of his researchers in San Francisco reading ‘Time Machine Go.’ This interests Robin. Once in SF, Jack and Fanny are sent on a mission to collect the Hand of Glory. They meet the mysterious Pierrot and Columbine in a nightclub, whilst King Mob meets his ex Jacqui for a massage and an argument about his motives and his actions. At the offices Mason’s researcher Takashi explains that his breakthrough is to think of time as a single place, if you build a machine that can go ‘up’ above time, it can then choose its own re-entry point.’ [Related Links: grant-morrison.com, Barbelith – from Tom Coates.]
[politics] Francis Wheen in the GuardianJohn Redwood on William Hague: ‘After talking to Hague during the second leadership ballot in 1997, Redwood confided that he had “had more interesting conversations with a bathroom sponge”. When Hague was subsequently elected, Redwood said: “They have actually chosen the worst of all the six candidates.” On another occasion, he described Hague as looking like “a very old baby”. If this is Redwood’s idea of being nice, what is he like when he turns nasty?’
[conspiracy] What is a crazyveigh? ‘The truth must be told! I’m sorry, Timothy, but I can’t be quiet anymore! The reason Timothy has been quiet for so long is because the day he was arrested, A microscopic chip was inserted into the lower part of his left ear! This chip not only tortured him by playing death metal and christmas classics but it made him unable to speak. Then thin slices of razor blades were inserted between his liver and urapoopilikeno causing sharp pains to travel through his hands every time he was near paper! Timothy is really the son of God’ [via Follow Me Here]
[reading] Just finished The New New Thing by Michael Lewis. ‘…in a 1994 issue of the Journal of Development Economics Romer wrote, “Once we admit that there is room for newness – that there are vastly more conceivable possibilites than realized outcomes – we must confront the fact that there is no special logic behind the world we inhabit, no particular justification for why things are the way they are. Any number of arbitrarily small peturbations along the way could have made the world as we know it turn out very differently . . . We are forced to admit that the world as we know it is the result of a long string of chance outcomes.’
December 21, 2000
[comics] Alan Moore watches the K Foundation burn a million quid…. ‘I think we’re moving towards some sort of paradigm shift, or massive collective mental breakdown some huge step of some kind; a basic change in our thinking. In politics, religions and the various structures we have built up, the world not the planet but the idea of the world we’ve created is likely, at least conceptually, to go up in flames the end of the world figuratively, but not apocalyptically not like a traditional notion of Armageddon. Maybe we’ve always imagined it’s going to collapse I’m not trying to be millennial about this I don’t see ‘the destruction and end of the world’, that chimera that we always seem to dangle over ourselves. Rather around this juncture of history when all of our systems are unstable and teetering towards this point of climax and collapse, we should consider the speed at which our culture is learning.’ [Related Links: Alan Moore: Magician, The K Foundation: Why We Burnt A Million Pounds]
[online animation] Warren Ellis does a trailer for an online film called Bad Places‘Murder scenes are messy. Just ask Mike Charon, a detective who has seen the worst that killing has to offer. Inevitably, Charon gets called on every D.O.A. He’s the one who sees the stabbings and shootings before the coroner.’
December 22, 2000
[comics] Fandom.com looks back at Grant Morrison’s Animal Man…. ‘Safe to say, it was a Morrison story, so there was tragedy – brutal tragedy that came as a total shock. But there were also revelations about the universe, theoretical physics, cosmology, suffering, redemption, discovery, and, of course, a touch of peyote. For readers who`d been with the series since it`s beginning, the beginning of Morrison`s final run was incredibly cohesive. Mirror Master`s attack back in issue #8 was of key importance to what Animal Man was about to go through. His revenge was swift and horrible, and at the same time, satisfying, but hollow, leaving Animal Man saying to Mirror Master at the end of issue #21, “I can fix it. I can fix it all. I`ve had an idea. A time machine. All I need is a time machine. I can fix everything.”‘ [Related Links: grant-morrison.com, TimeMachineGo]
[politics] Senior Tory regrets Spice joke. I’m surprised this piece of Tory ignorance did not get wider coverage — but who stares at a snow flake in a blizzard? The joke in full from the Guardian: ‘Liam wandered around the room, perhaps having had one or two and being full of Christmas cheer. “Have you heard my new joke?” he puppyishly asked a group of people. “What do you call three dogs and a blackbird?” No one knew. “The Spice Girls,” said Liam. Embarrassed shuffling ensued, but either misinterpreting this as collective deafness or perhaps out of exuberant delight at his own wit, Liam told it again.’
December 23, 2000
[tedious autobiography] Tonight I was here — the Small and Beautiful in Kilburn. Highly recommended… great food, cheap, very relaxing… ‘We began with the Moules Mariniere (steamed mussels in garlic, lemon, parlsey and white wine) and the sublime Baked Red Peppers, which are stuffed with fetta cheese. Highlights of the main menu are the Char-grilled Tuna Steak, with a sauce of anchovies, capers and butter; and the Rigatone Verde, a risotto with spinach and cream.’
[music] Eminem Vs Bob The Builder. :) ‘Then I got an email from Tim Ireland (hello Tim) who put one of those dangerous propositions to me; What would happen if Bob took on Eminem in a full on 12 round musical punch up ? Well, armed only with a copy of a computer program called ACID and several cans of bitter I set about the task of sellotaping the two contenders together and a couple of hours later the job was done.’
[comics] Suffering Sappho! Salon looks at Wonder Woman and her new artist/writer Phil Jiminez…. ‘Sitting in the catbird seat of the comic-book world, Jimenez remains refreshingly guileless. At a midtown Manhattan signing in late November, he warmly greeted scores of fans who could be slammed for forgetting to get a life. Better-known artists, he said, too often exhibit an unwarranted haughtiness toward fans. “The strange thing about my industry is how so many people are unpleasant,” he lamented. “We’re comic-book people; we’re not that important.”‘
[interesting metaphor] BBC News profiles the major players in British politics as pantomime characters‘William Hague, unfortunately, has been likened to Aladdin. He was down on his luck, unloved and alone when he suddenly discovered his magic lamp. Trouble was when he rubbed it, rather than a genie leaping out to fulfil his every political desire, he got Michael Portillo. The new shadow chancellor immediately went around tearing up all Aladdin’s policies and refusing to get back into his lamp. He now hovers over Mr Hague’s shoulder insisting there is no way he wants his job.’
December 24, 2000
[comics] Okay… a last couple of comic links before Christmas… Go check out Dylan Horrocks website, read Understanding Hicksville, a review of his best comic and then buy a copy at Amazon…. ‘The story, with its layers of flashbacks, and jaunts into comic strips within the comic strip, defies synopsis. It is organized along the lines of a Gothic tale, following a fanboy comics journalist and his discovery of an isolated rural town, the Hicksville of the title, that is protecting a secret. As we meet the town’s various denizens, Hicksville grows into a comment on art and people that exist in the margins of history.’
[weblogs] Luke’s Christmas Message: ‘…a bodypainted woman wearing a large box walked up. Some vampy number was played, and she proceeded to take off the big box, revealing three smaller, strategically-placed boxes which were, in turn, removed to reveal naught but naked flesh. All well and good. It wasn’t until she pulled a yard of tinsel out of herself that I started to worry.’ :) :)
[LinkMachineOff]. Right… Happy Christmas everybody…especially to all of LMG’s regular readers and anybody coming off Google searching for websites dealing with nude pictures of Amanda Holden or Charlie Dimmock. You won’t find any of that here but I extend my hand in Christmas greetings…. as long as you wash yours first. That’s it. Back next week….
December 27, 2000
[war is hell] Playing with Cobras comes up with a great link covering the life and work of Sven Hassel…. writer of many great books about War…. ‘Sven Hassel’s novels have a major effect on one’s outlook vis-à-vis life. Take a quick read through one of the books and you will find that you suddenly have absolutely no respect for authority, a rabid distrust of anything political, religious or dull and a healthy craving for beer, cheating at cards and very large ladies. Your culinary skills will suddenly be in great demand and you will never want to go to sleep again. You will not consider Saving Private Ryan to be in any way a realistic interpretation of war.’
[weblogs] The Haddock Directory redesigns…. it’s been around for yonks… and I’ve been ripping it off for links for as long as I can remember. ‘This directory is compiled from URLs posted to the mostly-London-based Haddock mailing list since September 1996. There are currently 8129 links (not counting those known to be broken) and each is accompanied by a comment from the person who posted it.’
[comics] Kathleen reads Watchmen for the first time‘On Christmas Day 2000 I finally read Watchmen for the first time. I tried to stretch out the book over several days but I found I couldn’t put it down for more than an hour at a time. I became anxious and snappy whenever anybody interrupted me from my reading for matters as inconsequential as eating. That’s because ten years late I have learned what everyone else in the world already knew: Watchmen is fucking good.’ I was lucky (old) enough to pick up the original issues. There was the longest delay between issue 11 and 12. Waiting for that last issue almost killed me…
December 28, 2000
[comics] The Slush Factory has a interesting interview with Evan Dorkin‘This entire industry is made up of fans… very few people come into comics form outside of comics. We get the best creators, retailers, marketers, and salesmen that the comics fan base can provide. That’s limiting a lot of people. Graphic designers, we are getting some of the best people… sometimes we get some terrific people. Most of the time we get “I was always a fan, I always wanted to have my own store. I was always a fan, I always wanted to have my own comic.”‘
[meat] Give me a Big Mac – but hold the beef. The Guardian takes a look at McDonalds in India… ‘As the stand-off between anti-globalists and multinationals continues, India has become the last great battleground. If McDonald’s can succeed here, without beef, it can succeed anywhere, so the reasoning goes. To woo customers, McDonald’s has devised a unique marketing strategy. India is the only country in the world where McDonald’s does not offer beef. With 140m Indian Muslims, pork is off the menu, too. This leaves chicken and mutton – the ingredient of McDonald’s flagship “Maharaja Mac”. There are other additions to the menu specifically designed to lure India’s middle-class – such as the tantalising McAloo Tikki burger. All foods are strictly segregated into vegetarian and non-vegetarian lines. Even the mayonnaise has no egg in it, so as not to offend India’s vegan sensibilities.’
[film] Where in the world is Tyler Durden? Subliminal Tyler Durden’s from Fight Club
December 29, 2000
[year-end] The Guardian ponders the big questions for 2001‘Any chance Oasis will finally implode for good? British record companies should have a plaque reading “no more heroes” nailed over the front door. Whenever the biz trumpets its latest world-shaking phenomenon, you can guarantee it’ll go straight down the plughole. Richard Ashcroft has tumbled dramatically from rock’n’roll bard to po-faced bore. Ronan Keating has embraced premature middle age with disastrous consequences, and Oasis are only managing to cling on to the gossip columns for all the wrong reasons. Spectators relished Liam Gallagher’s yobbish spats with Robbie Williams and Patsy Kensit’s tearful reports of her life of misery. But the live album, Familiar To Millions, might more accurately have been called Dimly Recalled By Dozens.’
[comics] Warren Ellis on Stan Lee: ‘That man wanted himself completely identified with Marvel and completely beloved, and did everything short of breaking into peoples’ houses and fucking them in the night to do it. To be honest, I’m sure he considered it and was talked out of it by nervous assistants. “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth! I’ll do it! I shall dramatically decant myself into the beds of my best beloved brethren, the Mighty Marvel Mavens nationwide, and bring them all to outstandingly overwhelming orgasms with the purposefully pulsating penetrations of my — “‘
December 30, 2000
[y2k] Jon Ronson looks back at Y2K…. On Tony Martin: ‘Martin had, for 18 months before the shooting, worked himself into a frenzy. He had sealed his windows, patrolled his property with a loaded gun and yelled at passers-by, “I’ll blow the heads off thieves and machine-gun Gypsies.” But as a metaphor he became a downtrodden rural Englishman protecting his castle against the worst sort of foreign invader, a Gypsy. Hague assured the Gypsy-haters that under a Tory government the “floods of Kosovars and Romanian Gypsies swamping soft-touch Britain” would be locked in detention centres.’
[alan moore] Alan Moore on William Blake…. ‘Friday 2 February, 19.30 Tygers of Wrath. A spectacular finale to the exhibition, featuring music played by Alex James (Blur) and Simon Boswell, Jah Wobble, and Billy Bragg, and readings and performances by Iain Sinclair and Alan Moore. This event takes place at the Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly, W1. Tickets: £10 – £20’
[politics] Politics is boring. LMG wants more Christmas photos of Ann Widdecombe and her cats — Pugwash and Carruthers…. and little poems as well: ‘Goodness gracious, what is that? It’s Mr. Pugwash, my black cat. Goodness gracious, are there others? Yes indeed, my cat Carruthers.’
[y2k] Another look back at Y2K — this time from Matthew Fort. ‘A year that marked more debate over the role of alcohol in social violence even witnessed a spot of bother at a tea dance: a 77-year-old grandfather sent a 71-year-old rival to hospital with a broken wrist, broken nose and cuts after being accused of interfering with the ladies. The would-be pugilist was given a suspended sentence, but left court defiant, saying, “I am a gentleman and, anyway, I’m impotent.”‘
December 31, 2000
[warren ellis] The Sermon On The Mount — Warren Ellis’ final column for Comic Book Resources. ‘And you know what? Eventually, one day, when you come to your local comics store, regular as clockwork on delivery day, to pick up your pile of cheap superhero comics that you really don’t read any more anyway, that really don’t change anything, that only ever get good for a little while and never ever end? You’ll come in alone.’ [Related Links: Tom Coates thoughts on the Column]
[film] Hoffman Proves His Character — BBC News profiles Philip Seymour Hoffman. ‘And perhaps the most conclusive assessment of Hoffman is that offered by Schumacher: “The bad news is that Phil will never make $25m (£17m) a picture,” he told reporters. “The good news is he’ll be working all his life. He’s quite possibly the best character actor of his generation.”‘
[weird science] The Observer looks at another attempt at creating a viable fusion reactor — a great piece of journalism about science. ‘…the human culture surrounding the Machine attempts to mimic the Machine itself , which is trying to mimic the universe. The mannerisms of the Machine become the mannerisms of its minions – people rage and tyrannise, overheat, relent, synergise, procreate, vanish, and recur. One idea seems brilliant and fails, while another may start as a quail but then, compressed by other ideas – electrons stripping off, ions colliding – transforms into something sharp and fast, something agitatingly, beautifully right. And then, of course, it is shot into the Machine to see if it is.’
[watching] The Sopranos ‘Unlike Francis Coppola’s operatic dramatisation of Mario Puzo’s Godfather epic, The Sopranos sustains a poignant, even mundane, intimacy in its focus on Tony, brought to vivid life by James Gandolfini’s mercurial performance. Alternatively seductive, exasperated, fearful, and murderous, Gandolfini is utterly convincing even when executing brutal shifts between domestic comedy and dramatic violence. Both he and the superb team of Italian-American actors recruited as his loyal (and, sometimes, not-so-loyal) henchman and their various “associates” make this mob as credible as the evocative Bronx and New Jersey locations where the episodes were filmed.’ [Related Links: Official Sopranos Site]