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July 1, 2001
[distraction] Bod and Star Wars collide…. Here Comes Darth. [via Bugpowder]
[books] I should take a look at the Digested Read’s in the Guardian more often… One For My Baby: ‘”I’m planning a surprise birthday party for your father,” said my mum. “Surprise, surprise,” she shouted as the lights went on. And there was dad with his trousers round his ankles while Lena, the au pair, bobbed in front of him. Funny. I thought it was me she fancied. “I really love Lena,” muttered my dad as I helped him move his stuff out of the house. How do you live with loss? ‘ Nigella Bites: ‘I know that many of you may not have time for the table-laden breakfast, but even the sluttiest person can whip up muffins for 12. Just make the nanny get up at 5.30am to whip up some lumpy batter, spoon it into paper cases and cook for 20 minutes. You can hop out of the bath a couple of hours later and devour them with lashings of buerre de Normandie. By the way, get that nice little barman I once met in Hong Kong to make you a few Bloody Marys to wash it all down.’
July 2, 2001
[books] Five books I’ve bought in charity shops recently…

  • Airport by Arthur Hailey. The novel which made George Kennedy’s career… and the template for every jet disaster movie ever… Classic back cover blurb: ‘AIRPORT. From traffic control to Customs hall, from airport manager’s office to the lay-over apartments in “Stewardesses Row”, the rooms are peopled with men and women whose private pressures and passions match the fury of the blizzard which sweeps the airfield… For seven suspense-filled hours, a blocked runway … suicide … pickets … an aerial stowaway … pregnancy … smuggling … mass demonstrations … and a psychotic with a home-made bomb, build to nail-biting climax…’
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Joins the tiny number of books I’ve never managed to get past the first page on… I read the opening sentence… “Who is John Galt?”, my brain reboots and I go and do something more interesting instead… like sit in a corner and stare at the wall. Purchased for a pound in Shepherds Bush.
  • Monte Cassino by Sven Hassel. The all-true (according to this FAQ, anyway) adventures of a German Penal Panzer Division (WTF?!) at Monte Cassino. Hassel’s books — like Richard Allen’s Skinhead series — are 70’s pulp classics well worth picking up if you can find them…. I suspect these have become collectable so you’ll be lucky to find them in charity shops. Another lucky purchase from a charity shop in Kilburn.
  • Raise the Titanic! by Clive Cussler. Faced with a difficult decision I often ask myself “What would Dirk Pitt do in this situation?” …the answer is always shoot a Russian between the eyes and seduce the nearest beautiful woman. The book was made into another crap film but it’s entertaining if you can pick it up for a pound.
  • The Detective by Roderick Thorpe. I’ve not managed to read this one yet…. but I recommend it mainly because of front-cover blurb…. ‘A Big-City Cop whose public life amid rape, robbery, perversion and murder becomes entangled with the problems of his wife and mistress.’ How can you resist that?

Next Week: Another book list I haven’t though of yet…. although I’m planning on doing a list of the worst books I’ve ever read at some point… Shaun Hutson novels will feature strongly.
[WTF?] Deeply weird… sexual situation involving chains and a Volkswagon…. ‘Case studies include “The Love Bug,” the weird tale of an airline pilot who sought gratification by running around in the nude while chained to the back of a Volkswagen rigged to drive in slow circles. Called to the scene when a fisherman stumbled upon the grisly tableau, stunned policemen found the pilot’s naked body smashed against the car’s left rear fender. Cops theorized the victim had been trying to turn off the ignition when the chain began wrapping around the axle, crushing him to death.’ [via Venusberg]
July 3, 2001
[tv] Adam and Joe’s list of very Bad Things. ‘3. Making toast or tea in the ad break only to find, as the show starts again, you hadn’t plugged in the toaster/kettle.’
[celebrity] Ginger Snaps — interesting analysis into why Chris Evans left Virgin Radio last week… ‘”The real story with Chris is his friends,” one of his former friends explained. “I think he has a fairly serious personality disorder which begins with him thinking, ‘I am a funny, charismatic bloke, and I want to surround myself with my court’. He’s always done this, ever since he was a teenager. Like every bully, he’s always got a circle of acolytes, a little clique. He bullies people so that he can show off in front of that clique. That’s how he’s sustained himself. But then what happens is always the same. He has fallen out with everybody, even the people who have stuck with him through the worst kind of excesses.”‘ [Related: Sunday Times Profile, Net Notes on Evans]
July 4, 2001
[comics] Brief preview of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men 2001 Annual….
[stuff] Random Linkage:

  • Anthony Soprano: ‘Mother of Christ! Is this a woman thing? You ask me how I’m feeling. I TELL you how I’m feeling. And now you’re going to torture me with it.’ [from Sopranos Sounds]
  • haddock.org…. on Blogs. ‘It’s only a matter of hours before all weblogs disappear up their collective meta-arse.’
  • An abiding image for 2001? Judge: Mr Milosevic, this is not the time for speeches. As I have said you will have a full opportunity in due course to defend yourself and to make your defence before the tribunal. This is not the moment to do so. This matter is now adjourned.’ [BBC News Transcript]
  • Dr. William Minor at everything2.com. Dr. Minor would have been a blogger if he’d been born 140 years later…
  • The Washington Post revisits Watergate…. 25 years later (in 1997). Ben Bradlee on Deep Throat: ‘I think he had a strange, passionate devotion to the truth and a horror at what he saw going on. ‘

[movies] The Guardian interviews Timothy Spall‘Timothy Spall’s 20-year study of the British soul began with a small role in the 1979 youth culture classic Quadrophenia. “I was the fat projectionist,” he remembers. “A whole generation of actors were in that film: Phil Daniels, Ray Winstone, Phil Davis. All being these sharp mods or cool rockers, and I was the fat projectionist.”‘ [Related: Spall at IMDB]
July 5, 2001
[science] The Prophet of Reason — The Independent profiles Richard Dawkins…. ‘What about, “why are humans so credulous?” I ask. So happy to pay through the nose for an aura massage or crystal healing. Mustn’t gullibility have an evolutionary explanation too? “I would put it back to childhood and say that there’s a Darwinian survival value in children believing what their elders tell them, because the world is too dangerous a place and it takes too long to learn what you need to learn to survive,” Dawkins replies. “You’ve got to have a rule of thumb that’s built into the nervous system that says ‘Believe what you’re told’. And once you’ve got a rule of thumb like that, it’s like having a computer, which is vulnerable to viruses.’
[quote] ‘You come back to the hotel after a gig. You’re knackered. The sex is there on a plate. It doesn’t really appeal to me. I need to feel engaged and stimulated. I need to feel intimacy. To me there’s nothing sexier than having someone knowing you, speaking to you, understanding you, and still wanting to fuck you.’ — Luke Goss.
[tv] Big Mac — why am I linking to interviews with John McCririck?! ‘McCririck says he would be lost without the Booby [his wife]. He can’t drive so she ferries him to race meetings. Nor can he cook, mend a fuse, or do anything else practical, so she has to attend to the business of living. He does a review of the papers on Channel 4’s Morning Line at 9am each Saturday, and you can guess who is down at King’s Cross station at midnight buying the papers. They have no children; or perhaps they have one extremely large child.’
July 6, 2001
[stuff] More Random Linkage:


[books] Summer Reading Recommendations from…. Seething Hatred, Steps and Wherever You Are. Vaughan: ‘Therefore, that whole reading list may have been a pointless exercise, and a complete waste of time. Bloody hell, isn’t personal web publishing marvellous?’
July 7, 2001
[quote] ‘In London, where Southampton Row passes Russell Square, across from the British Museum in Bloomsbury, Leo Szilard waited irritably one gray Depression morning for the stoplight to change. A trace of rain had fallen during the night; Tuesday, September 12, 1933, dawned cool, humid and dull. Drizzling rain would begin in early afternoon. When Szilard told the story later he never mentioned his destination that morning. He may have had none; he often walked to think. In any case another destination intervened. The stoplight changed to green. Szilard stepped off the curb. As he crossed the street time cracked open before him and he saw a way to the future, death into the world and all our woe, the shape of things to come.’
[celebrity] Stars in their Eyes [Part One | Part Two] — Jon Ronson looks at what happened to the original Big Brother contestants one year on… ‘Andy and I entered the offices of Courier Systems. “This is wicked,” said Andy. “I’ve always wanted to be a cycle courier.” “When can you start?” said Paul, the manager. “Tomorrow,” said Andy. “Bright and early.” Paul laughed. He said he’d seen people like Andy before. They come in full of excitement and fanciful ideals about the life of the cycle courier, but reality hits them on the first day and they quit within a week. “Well, that’s not me,” said Andy. “I promise you that.” “Will I see you at Sada’s book launch party?” I asked. “No,” he said. “I’m not going.” “Why not?” I asked. “It would be deceitful,” he said. “I fucking hate Sada.” Andy’s career as a cycle courier lasted for three days. “God it was hard,” he told me at Sada’s book launch party. “And the money was shit.”‘
July 8, 2001
[celebrity] Boomtown’s tycoon — profile of Bob Geldof…. ‘Geldof likes to say of his various ventures — be they pop music, television production, internet travel or his latest media and events company — that they arose only out of his anger at the inadequacy of what was on offer to him as a consumer. “I start things because what I see is crap and it makes me angry,” he once said, with his usual memorable turn of phrase. “I started the Rats because all the records I heard were crap. I did Live Aid because what was happening was crap. I started Planet 24 (which produced Channel 4’s money-spinning Big Breakfast tabloid television programme) because everything on TV was crap. And I’m starting the internet company because I am angry at all the crap on the Net”.’
July 9, 2001
[books] The Face by Garry Bushell — a Digested Read… ‘Witless, plotless gangster pulp-fiction that manages to insult almost everyone, especially the readers.’
[politics] ThatcherWeb — Thatcher fan site. Check out the messianic Flash intro… ‘Let me give you my vision: A man’s right to work as he will, to spend what he earns, to own property, to have the state as servant and not as master – these are the British inheritance. They are the essence of a free economy… and on that freedom all our other freedoms depend.’ [via Haddock]
[books] Stranger than fiction — interview from the Telegraph with Chuck Palahniuk. ‘”In the US we really don’t have a rite of passage from adolescence into adulthood,” he says, “except through acquiring accoutrements – your home, your car, your washer-dryer. That’s how you become an adult in America. There’s a quote in the book: ‘I’ve seen the strongest, smartest generation in all of human history, and they’re working in the service industry.’ And I just felt enormously disappointed in myself and most of my peers; despite all of the things we’d been raised with – good nutrition, good health, the best education – what had our lives amounted to? Pumping gas? Filing? Watching a computer screen? All of humanity has come to this point, and this is the best we can do with it? I just felt this enormous frustration around that.”‘
July 10, 2001
[comics] Girls And Comics – Oil And Water — a for real Comic Book Guy?! ‘I am a keen observer of human behavior and the attitude of a girl in a comic shop is like that of a Vulcan amongst Ferengi. They think they are so much better than comics. Those girls don’t think I’m watching them from my stool behind the counter as I bag and board comics. But I am. I see them in their little belly-shirts acting like they are so above comics. The reality is that girls lack the imagination of boys and cannot comprehend the bold archetypes portrayed in our (boys?) sequential art-form.’ [via Comic Geek]
[distractions] Rejected Movie PostersKramer vs. Kramer, Autumn in New York, Willy Wonka. [via Comic Geek]
[politics] Another long, interesting political profile of Michael Portillo. ‘Moving the political battle on to cultural grounds exposes another division among Conservatives, between authoritarians and liberals. The people who encouraged John Major to go “back to basics” and William Hague to portray Conservatives as “the party of the family” are genuinely shocked that Portillo can suggest it is an area where neither the party nor the state has a role. “None of my colleagues understand the real game,” he complained to friends recently. Intellectual, arrogant, a man who holidays in Bayreuth for the Wagner and Morocco for the ruins, a man viewed with suspicion by most of his political colleagues, his only hold on the party is their desperation to win.’ [Related: Official Portillo Site]
[distractions] Sounds, wallpaper and other digital stuff from the BB2 household…. Amma Farting / Liz Burping. [Just Announced: Josh and Helen up for Eviction]
July 11, 2001
[comics] Great interview with Eddie Campbell mainly about the From Hell movie at Ain’t it Cool News‘Alan said that, “We all know that serial murderers are not like this. They’re horrible nasty little men with bad hair-cuts!” So with Gull, we’ve created this colossal figure of evil. I hope we haven’t made him attractive. I actually have much admiration for the original Dr. Gull, who was the man who wrote the paper and gave the name to anorexia nervosa. And his name still pops up if you’re reading on thyroid conditions. He wrote the original medical papers on one or two subjects that are still very relevant today.’
[wtf?!] Evil Edna’s Top Ten Heart-Warming Moments “3. An atheist sees God in a burning bush. Dragging him to safety, the atheist is given the greatest gift of all…. faith.”

Basil Brush’s Top Twenty-six Ways to Die ’16. Clive Barker’s favourite, having snakes made from a lunatic’s shit animated by an evil magician and invading your every orifice. Let’s hear it for Clive Barker, eh? 17. That magic flesh eating bacteria (nature beats Clive Barker).’ [via Seethru]
[politics] Tension mounts, the votes are in and, er … everyone’s a winner — Simon Hoggart on the Tory Leadership election process. ‘The press amused themselves by insulting passing Tories. Someone offered Peter Lilley a spliff. “Only on Sundays,” he said. Nicholas Soames insulted us. “Why isn’t that man wearing a tie?” he demanded of a hack. “I have it in my pocket,” the fellow quavered. “Well, PUT IT ON!”. Ann Widdecombe rolled towards us. “Ancram!” she shouted at the massed questors for truth. “Ancram, Ancram, Ancram!” As she left the room, she barked: “Still Ancram!”‘
[politics] Think Tory, Think Iain — Matthew Parris on your typical Tory and what it means for the current leadership battle… ‘Take Margaret Thatcher herself. [ … ] Far from being extreme or right wing in her origins, she was a progressive woman of the 1950s — one who actually went to university. She voted for the decriminalisation of homosexuality, a radical idea in the 1960s. She married a divorcÚ. She went out to work while her children were still young. Her equivalent in the Tory party today would be quite prepared to contemplate relaxing the law on cannabis, and most younger Conservatives are.’ [Related: electportillo.com, voteids.com]
July 12, 2001
[stuff] Linkage:

  • Lots of First Chapters of BooksTrilobite!, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and House of Leaves.
  • Lucky Man Lyrics‘But how many corners do I have to turn? How many times do I have to learn All the love I have is in my mind? I hope you understand.’
  • A very brief distraction — Dancing Dots. ‘Boy, oh boy, is this one completely useless!’
  • Weblog at Everything2 Vs. Weblog at Interconnected.
  • Random Link from my Favourites: Hessian Love‘I’m a metal dude with long hair and tats who loves to party at all hour of the night. i am 6’4” 210# long (to my ass) hair, played in sf bands for 13 years. i have 5 ozzy tats and 2 dio tats. what can i say, i luv sabbath. new in la , saw your add for more info and photo pleez wright back. we need to hook up and get shitfaced. did i mention i’m hung like tommy lee?’
  • Yesterday on filepile.org#1, #2, #3.

[celebrity] Fame is the SpurGyles Brandreth looks back on his obsession with celebrity…. ‘I have been following the trial of Barry George, the simple-minded fantasist and loner found guilty last week of murdering Jill Dando, and I noticed that every one of the star names with whom George was apparently obsessed – Freddie Mercury, Gary Glitter, Jill Dando, Anthea Turner, Diana, Princess of Wales – also features in the roll-call of those that, now and again, I like to boast of having met.’
[tech] Cap’n Crunch’s Homepage… includes the infamous article from Esquire on phone phreaking…. ‘I ask him who this Captain Crunch person is.”Oh. The Captain. He’s probably the most legendary phone phreak. He calls himself Captain Crunch after the notorious Cap’n Crunch 2600 whistle.” (Several years ago, Gilbertson explains, the makers of Cap’n Crunch breakfast cereal offered a toy-whistle prize in every box as a treat for the Cap’n Crunch set. Somehow a phone phreak discovered that the toy whistle just happened to produce a perfect 2600-cycle tone. When the man who calls himself Captain Crunch was transferred overseas to England with his Air Force unit, he would receive scores of calls from his friends and “mute” them — make them free of charge to them — by blowing his Cap’n Crunch whistle into his end.)’ [thanks Phil]
July 13, 2001
[tv] Louis Theroux and Ann Widdecombe…. TV doesn’t get any better than that! ‘Ms Widdecombe later said it was what she called the “perfectly sensible” interview Theroux conducted with Paul Daniels that persuaded her to take part. “He has a slightly zany approach but I can cope with that,” she said.’
[distractions] Enjoy… Micro Jet Racers [via Dutchbint] and a cover of Voodoo Ray by a Brass Band on filepile.org [thanks to Oh!SkyLab, original Voodoo Ray].
[comics] Another first chapter… The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. ‘In Sammy’s closet were stacked dozens of pads of coarse newsprint, filled with horses, Indians, football heroes, sentient apes, Fokkers, nymphs, moon rockets, buckaroos, Saracens, tropic jungles, grizzlies, studies of the folds in women’s clothing, the dents in men’s hats, the lights in human irises, clouds in the western sky. His grasp of perspective was tenuous, his knowledge of human anatomy dubious, his line often sketchy – but he was an enterprising thief. He clipped favorite pages and panels out of newspapers and comic books and pasted them into a fat notebook: a thousand different exemplary poses and styles. He had made extensive use of his bible of clippings in concocting a counterfeit Terry and the Pirates strip called South China Sea, drawn in faithful imitation of the great Caniff. He had knocked off Raymond in something he called Pimpernel of the Planets and Chester Gould in a lockjawed G-man strip called Knuckle Duster Doyle. He had tried swiping from Hogarth and Lee Falk, from George Herriman, Harold Gray, and Elzie Segar.’
July 14, 2001
[media] Neurosis in Print — Polly Toynbee wonders if the Daily Mail is a spent political force… ‘Why has the Mail lost its influence, despite its sales? Because its editor, Paul Dacre, imposes his own neurotic vision of society upon his paper. It is neither coherent nor consistent but a Toytown world of nice white folk inside gated communities, fearful of everything outside (especially the gypsies in the woods), pining for a golden era that never was. It is John Major’s fantasy world of spinsters bicycling to church, Tory squires downing warm beer in the saloon, plebs in the public bar, all deference and homogeneity, caste and class in their place. Above all the holy Oxo family is the Mail’s guiding star – pure, uncomplicated, eternal.’ [via Venusberg]
[comics] Popimage provides a look through comics to be released in Sept 2001… especially looking forward to Atlas by Dylan Horrocks and Campbell and Moore’s Snakes and Ladders‘Atlas is a long, sprawling saga of comics, cartography and magic, revisiting two landscapes introduced in Hicksville: the eponymous comics-obsessed town and the mysterious Cornucopia. Along the way, it will explore the nature of comics, the politics of the new millennium, the frailty of love and the secret to mapping the sky…’
July 15, 2001
[quote] ‘He was, in fact, characteristic of the best type of dominant male in the world at this time. He was fifty-five years old, tough, shrewd, unburdened by the complicated ethical ambiguities which puzzle intellectuals, and had long ago decided that the world was a mean son-of-a-bitch in which only the most cunning and ruthless can survive. He was also as kind as was possible for one holding that ultra-Darwinian philosophy; and he genuinely loved children and dogs, unless they were on the site of something that had to be bombed in the National Interest. He still retained some sense of humor, despite the burdens of his almost godly office, and, although he had been impotent with his wife for nearly ten years now, he generally achieved orgasm in the mouth of a skilled prostitute within 1.5 minutes. He took amphetamine pep pills to keep going on his grueling twenty-hour day, with the result that his vision of the world was somewhat skewed in a paranoid direction, and he took tranquilizers to keep from worrying too much, with the result that his detachment sometimes bordered on the schizophrenic; but most of the time his innate shrewdness gave him a fingernail grip on reality. In short, he was much like the rulers of Russia and China.’
July 16, 2001
[comics] Marvel provide an interview with Grant Morrison on the New X-Men…. What we can expect from his time on X-Men: ‘High-impact comics: big drama, new threats, new ideas, engrossing soap opera, pain, fear, romance, and some startling new insights into mutant life and culture. Stories will last no more than three or four issues, and no subplot will be left hanging for more than a year. There will be no more narrative captions or interior thought monologues. Readers will have to work out characters and motivations by judging their actions, not by seeing into their heads. Basically, the book will be about the same people, but it will feel very different and show those people from angles we may not have seen often before.’ [via Plasticbag]
[tv] Hi, I’m Big Brother — behind the scenes at the Big Brother 2 Studio… ‘On the wall are instructions on how to be Big Brother. “Always be calm, dispassionate and businesslike,” says one. “Don’t offer solutions,” reads another. “Don’t refer to things we’ve seen. Wait until they mention it.” A separate posting instructs them on how to react in the case of a threatened walk out: “1. Show understanding. 2. Dwell on the positive experiences. 3. Tell them they are strong. We think they can cope. 4. Suggest talking to the housemates.”‘
[books] Stand up for literature — interview with Stewart Lee regarding his new novel The Perfect Fool…. ‘For the past three years Stewart Lee has lived in Stoke Newington, a fashionable north London suburb, in a maisonette furnished in studenty style and dominated by his huge record collection. “I’ve been buying vinyl since I was about 11 – I remember the first CD I bought was in about ’92. Writing the book has helped me realise that maybe there’s something else going on there, that it’s a sort of displacement activity. I think that being interested in things, for men, often is, and in the book the characters have to address that. So that will all be going now. Once the book’s out, I’ll be able to shed it – like skin off a lizard!”‘
July 17, 2001
[tv] Jon Ronson’s web site has been vastly improved…. ‘One thing you quickly learn about [extremists] is that they really don’t like being called extremists. In fact they often tell me that we are the real extremists. They say that the western liberal cosmopolitan establishment is itself a fanatical, depraved belief system. I like it when they say this because it makes me feel as if I have a belief system.’
[comics] Comic Genius — review in the Guardian of Preacher from Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon. ‘Preacher, while happily dipping into the ersatz mythological/ supernatural hinterland that forgivably pretentious comic artists have found so convenient – God, the devil, angels, the Grail, vampires, Illuminati-inspired conspiracy theories, and millennial tension – uses them as a means of meditation on more human and timeless themes: friendship, masculinity, honour, love. That Ennis’s feelings on this subject tend to be a tad cornball is fine, as he has taken such an extraordinary route to reach them. A tale in which someone actually gets to shoot at God is extraordinary, no?’ [via Bugpowder]
[politics / tv] Portillo knocked out of the Tory Leadership Contest / Helen and Paul nominated in BB2… What an afternoon…
July 18, 2001
[stuff] Linkage:

  • Livia Soprano: ‘Why does everything have to have a purpose? The world is a jungle! And if you want my advice, Anthony, don’t expect happiness. You won’t get it — people let you down … and I’m not naming ANY names — but in the end, you die in your own arms’ [from Sopranos Sounds]
  • Dylan Horrocks… Sketchbook and Website.
  • Displacement Activity‘An activity shown by an animal that appears to be irrelevant to its situation. Displacement activities are frequently observed when there is conflict between opposing drives. For example, birds in aggressive situations, in which there are simultaneous drives to attack and to flee, may preen their feathers as a displacement activity.’
  • Atari Lives! — Great article about how the Atari 2600 console lives on 24 years after it’s release…. ‘The programmers stretched the hardware to limits unintended and unimaginable even by the hardware designers! A lot of times while I’m programming, I’ll throw on some disco music, pretend it’s 1979 and imagine what the designers had to work with.’
  • Last two days of MP3’s on Filepile

[politics] Welcome to the House of Usher — Simon Hoggart on the Tory Leadership Contest. ‘We will come out of this stronger and more united than ever!” Mr Ancram said. Oh, give it a rest, I thought. Only a hour or so ago, Nick Soames bellowed “F*** off!” at Michael Fallon. One Tory wife accused her husband – voting the wrong way, she thought – of “going through a midlife crisis and plunging his party into total oblivion”. There’s enough bitterness, wormwood and gall in the Tories now to keep an illegal absinthe distiller going for decades. And they haven’t even had the final round.’
[comics] Long, fascinating interview with Bill Sienkiewicz‘I wanted to paint Elektra: Assassin at all costs. I wanted to do it so badly, that the rate for the coloring was like $40 a page. They didn’t have a painted page rate at the time. So I was doing all that work for essentially nothing because I needed to do it, I wanted to do it. From working with Frank’s scripts to laughing my head off to being inspired and excited and knowing that whatever he was going to throw back at me was going to inspire me further. It really helped to make it about the work… because it all got turned back into the storyline. It was a very creative environment.’ [Related: Sienkiewicz’s Website]
July 19, 2001
[movies] The trailer for Apocalypse Now Redux is up at the Apple Trailers Site. ‘Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were goin’ all the way. Kurtz got off the boat. He split from the whole fuckin’ program.’ [Related: Quotes, Apocalypse Now Tribute Site]
[web] 20 Questions Ask Jeeves Can’t Answer. ‘Who’s your daddy?’
[politics] Hats off to Ken — The Guardian analyses Ken Clarke’s sense of fashion… ‘Yet it is precisely Clarke’s lack of fashionableness that may well prove to be his strength. Despite the horrified cry of Loaded’s Adrian Clarke – “Surely he should have an adviser to help him with these matters?” – this hat exemplifies the lack of spin in Clarke’s image. It is worn, pure and simply, to keep the rain off his head. ‘
July 20, 2001
[comics] Uncle Joe loved a good joke — Stalin’s Politburo liked to doodle cartoons during meetings… ‘. Uncle Joe himself may have been a mass murderer, tyrant and scheming paranoiac, but he had his jocular side as well, even if his sense of humour was typically brutal. As revealed by an extraordinary buff folder marked Top Secret, containing drawings by senior Bolsheviks, he appreciated a good political cartoon as much as the next man.’
[politics] The judge’s every word dripped with loathing and contempt — Simon Hoggart on the Archer Verdict. ‘Then the sentence and a speech from the judge which surely smashed into him as hard as the prison term. It must have been like being hosed down with sewage. Every word dripped with loathing and contempt: “As serious an offence of perjury as I have experience of, and as serious as I have been able to find in the books”. The judge spoke of the way he had preyed upon the weak and vulnerable to concoct his alibis; the way he had hurried along the original libel trial in order to tell his lies and spin his fabrications. It was a short speech, but lethal. Mr Justice Potts was about to take away his liberty, but first he wanted to strip off what shreds were left of his reputation.’ [Related: Archer’s Greasy Pole]
[drinks] This sounds like an interesting drink — The Turbo Shandy. ‘Drink half the lager, empy smirnoff ice into recently vacated space, and enjoy…’ [via Boney Baloney]
[politics] A On-line Petition: To Mr Big, Please make Lord Archer your Bitch. ‘Who’s the Daddy Now?’ [via Haddock]
July 22, 2001
[politics] The Undoing of a Bold Pretender — a postmortem on Michael Portillo’s Tory leadership campaign… ‘…after the final ballot last Tuesday, when most of the other MPs had gone to crack open Champagne or commiserate with colleagues, one senior figure in the party hung back. “The thing about Portillo is that he is arrogant, politically ambivalent and unaware of what the Conservatives really wanted or needed,” he said, a smile playing around his lips. Around the corner a new entrant to the Commons at the last election was not so sure. “We may have made the worst mistake this party has ever made,” he said, staring woefully at the floor. “And I didn’t even support Portillo.”‘
July 23, 2001
[stuff] Linkage:
  • I wonder what sort of Big Brother 2 housemate Paul from Digital Trickery would be? ‘The less I hear about this pleb-pleasing triviafest the better. I mean, why does anyone give a flying toss about it? ‘
  • Adventure for the Atari 2600 — one of my favourite computer games ever… ‘Adventure also contained the first Easter Egg (hidden surprise) in a video game, which in this case was the author’s signature hidden in a secret room.’
  • Friday’s Media Nugget was Ghost World. ‘Few movies have expressed the transition from teen to adult with such farcical honesty. An adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes (who co-wrote the film), Ghost World beautifully retains the style and attitude of its comic book forebear. ‘
  • New Order WebsiteTrue Faith Video. ‘When I was a very small boy Very small boys talked to me. Now that we’ve grown up together They’re afraid of what they see. That’s the price that we all pay And the value of destiny comes to nothing. I can’t tell you where we’re going I guess there was just no way of knowing.’
  • Friday Night expressed as a link.
  • Profile of Iain Duncan Smith…. ‘In background and style Tebbit and Duncan Smith could hardly have been more different, but they both held fast to key tenets of the Thatcherite canon – principally the supremacy of the nation state. Asked while electioneering what he thought of foxhunting, Duncan Smith was prevented from replying by Tebbit, who pointed to his colleague’s mouth and said: “Madam, these are the teeth of a killer. This man must have meat or die.”‘

Jimmy Corrigan Cover[comics] Daddy, I Hardly Knew You — review of Chris Ware’s graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth…. ‘This is a finely crafted, complex book that gets better with every chapter: Ware seems to have matured both as an artist and a person in the years it took to complete. While so many similar projects are little more than strings of striking images, Jimmy Corrigan forces you to pause, flick back a few pages and read again, rewarding you with another insight, another overdue connection. It is a rare and uplifting example of an artistic vision pushed to the limits.’ [via Bugpowder]
[politics] And Mother Makes Two — Old, slightly revealing interview of Ann Widdecombe by Gyles Brandreth… ‘Let’s face it, we are not a happier society as a result of the liberalisation of the Seventies. We have record rates of divorce, record rates of suicide, record rates of teenage pregnancy, record rates of youth crime, record rates of underage sex. We should invite people to recognise that the Great Experiment has failed. You cannot have happiness without restraint.’ [via Blogadoon]
July 24, 2001
[tv] The Life of Chris — the Guardian profiles Chris Morris’ career.. ‘The animal rights campaigner Carla Lane is still disgusted, four years after her encounter with Morris (“Prison’s not good enough” for animal abusers, she told him. Morris replied: “Prison’s too good. So what about jail?”) “These trendy people seem to think what they do is very funny,” Lane says today, “but most of it is beyond the 40-year-olds who are looking for Only Fools And Horses or Are You Being Served.”‘ [Related: Cook’d and Bomb’d]
[linkage] I’ve just noticed that the Sunday Times has finally put articles from it’s glossy magazine on the website… Bullitt over Broadway [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3] Brief study of Steve McQueen… ‘He grew more insecure with each film. “He wasn”t sure of what he was doing – and he wanted to do a really good job. He wanted order. If a director showed weakness, he would be replaced. And he was very possessive,” remembers Claxton. “He was like a child – at lunch he would order way over what he needed: two cheeseburgers, three chocolate milkshakes, two bags of fries. His attitude was, “Get it while you can, before they take it away from you.” He purposely didn’t carry any money around; he was very tight. He wouldn’t even tip baggage handlers at airports. He’d say, “No – they need to learn that life is tough.” ‘ The Hot Ticket [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3] Article about Tony Blair just before the last election… ‘Flying back from the Labour party spring conference in Glasgow, I am seated next to Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, almost entirely deaf. He holds his nose and blows hard, instructing me to follow his step-by-step example. ‘No, no, no, not like that, like this.’I fear bursting an eardrum. He shrugs; his view is that unless you push on with a project it’s hardly worth bothering.’ The Talented Mr Ridley [Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3] Interview with Ridley Scott… ‘He had not won the Oscar for best director. That had gone to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic. Ridley had been there before, with Thelma & Louise, losing on that occasion to Jonathan Demme, the director of The Silence of the Lambs. This time, he said, he had two flash moments, the first being relief that he would not have to do his acceptance speech, the second disappointment at having come so close again. Then he thought, oh bugger, he’d have a vodka instead.’
July 25, 2001
[intersection] Journey’s End — was Michael Portillo’s political career ruined by Big Brother? ‘”Michael was very struck by Big Brother,” reveals a Tory frontbencher who supported his bid for the party leadership. “We discussed it at length. His whole speech to last year’s Tory party conference was inspired by it. “The thing about that programme was the people. Young people, easy-going in their attitudes. They seemed to be the face of apolitical modern Britain. Michael knew immediately that we had to reach out to people like that. Britain isn’t reactionary any more.” Maybe. But large sections of the Tory party are.’
[comics] Comics From The Underground — The New Yorker profiles Dan Clowes… ‘Clowes scowled. “I really hate this shit,” he said. Then he noticed a 1951 “Space Squadron”: on the cover was a squat red rocket and spacemen floating in bulbous suits. “That’s so great,” he said, and his huge gray eyes seemed to glow. “That unthreatening quaintness, that X factor of weird old men trying to draw for children. It’ll be panel after panel of inexplicably strange Freudian dogma.” Gesturing at the “Black Widow” and “Hellblazer” graphic novels below, he said, “This crap looks like it was airbrushed on the side of a van in 1973 by some surly young creep.”‘ [via Robot Wisdom]
July 26, 2001
[intersection] I Am Jack’s Younger Self — the unmistakable connection between Fight Club and Calvin and Hobbes‘Within the safety of the panel, Calvin is perpetually eight years old, terrible things can never happen, and no matter how crazy a stunt he pulls, everything always returns to status quo. Because of this, our hero is free to do as he wishes, free to chase his dreams as wildly as he desires, never having to worry about tomorrow because there essentially will never BE one — unless it’s part of a continuing storyline. This makes the reality of Fight Club all the bleaker, because it depicts what happens when you take someone weaned on dreams and limitless possibilities and jam him into a cramped cage confined by rules and regulations’ [via Metafilter]
[comics] The Disappearing Comic Book — Why are comic books in trouble when comic book characters are strong in other mediums? ‘During the last 30 years, comics have become ghettoized, Munson says, turned into specialty items sold in persnickety little shops, located one per town, if that, and sold only to those who know the secret word. (Los Angeles, with dozens of shops and some of the best, is an exception.) A few popular titles are available at chain bookstores, but I had to squat and look beneath the bottom shelf on a Barnes & Noble magazine rack to find a copy of “Wolverine’.
July 27, 2001
[recession] Economics? It’s a piece of cake — are we heading for a recession? The Guardian does a number of totally unscientific tests to find out… ‘…Budd’s scientific method for testing the economic climate was to stand in the Lakeside shopping centre in Essex counting shoppers – fatally, he was fooled by their numbers into believing recovery was on the way, not noticing their sad noses pressed up against the glass gazing forlornly at the things they couldn’t afford.’
[comics] Salon has A Conversation With Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes‘Collectors like us are usually all really troubled people who find solace in their dank apartments filled with decaying old stuff, and they’re often a trial to deal with. Of course, I live in my own little sanctum/sanatorium with all my books covered with Mylar. I collected a lot of sleazy ’50s and ’60s sex paperbacks and recently found one from 1968 called “Ding-a-Ling Broad.” It has the dumbest-looking woman that I’ve ever seen on the cover. It’s something that is an endless source of joy for me.’ [Related: Ghost World Movie Site, Salon Review, GW at IMDB, link via Seething Hatred]
[politics] Time to reveal my “other” website: Darius Von Daniken Shrubsole says “I’m proud to be a Tory!” ‘If you are a conservative and you like my page, maybe we can be friends! Why not email me with your personal details. We can correspond about anything – I’m interested in more than politics. I like listening to Music (particularly Radio 2) and shopping for fashionable clothes at the Lakeside Shopping Center, which also has some marvellous architectural features. Of course I’ll only respond if you are voting for William on June 7th!.’ [via Clog]
July 28, 2001
[mindfucking] Taming the multiverse — New Scientist on Parallel Universes… ‘In classical physics, [Deutsch] says, there is no such thing as “if”; the future is determined absolutely by the past. So there can be no free will. In the multiverse, however, there are alternatives; the quantum possibilities really happen. Free will might have a sensible definition, Deutsch thinks, because the alternatives don’t have to occur within equally large slices of the multiverse. “By making good choices, doing the right thing, we thicken the stack of universes in which versions of us live reasonable lives,” he says. “When you succeed, all the copies of you who made the same decision succeed too. What you do for the better increases the portion of the multiverse where good things happen.”‘ [NOT Related: Crisis On Infinite Earths]
[profile] The Independent profiles Heather Mills and wonders what exactly is it about her that people find unsettling? ‘What is it then, that causes us to hang back, to pause a little? The answer is Mills herself. There is something about her that is almost frightening. She seems too perfect, her story too colourful, too dramatic. Few people, say her critics, are as driven, as single-minded, as strong-willed as she. And we find that unsettling, hard to cope with. When her father comes out to say his daughter is not a gold-digger who hunts down rich men, there are some who wonder if he protests too much.’
July 29, 2001
[internet] Taming the Wild, Wild Web — interesting article on Big Corporations growing discontent with the “unreliable, uncontrollable, unruly” Internet… ‘The business world’s discontent has increased as the Internet economy has unraveled over the last year. That’s not surprising, given that the network was first mapped out more than 30 years ago, when it was devised as a coast-to-coast system connecting universities working on projects financed by government grants. “The Internet is an important cultural phenomenon, but that doesn’t excuse its failure to comply with basic economic laws,” said Thomas Nolle, a New Jersey telecommunications consultant. “The problem is that it was devised by a bunch of hippie anarchists who didn’t have a strong profit motive. But this is a business, not a government-sponsored network.”‘ [via Digital Trickery]
[profile] Prophet of the new child order — Sunday Times profile of Michael Lewis… ‘It seems a curious moment to introduce his theory that technological advance is rocketing ahead too fast for most of us. Virtual reality is mostly stuck in amusement arcades, e-mail use is declining, dotcom companies are still on the ropes and silicon chips report falling profits. All this is irrelevant to the changes that are taking place under our noses, he claims. “The profit-making potential of the internet has been overrated and the social effects of the internet were presumed to be overrated. But they weren’t.”‘ Thank God for the Internet — Another article on Lewis at Salon. On Bill Joy’s view of technological change: ‘…what bothered me was that he had a political interest in reining in this process. Stopping it. Stopping change. This just seemed the height of hypocrisy to me. This is a man whose status in the society derives entirely from the society’s willingness to be very liberal in its attitudes toward technology and change and development and now that he’s on top he wants to control it. It just reeked to me of status anxiety.’
July 30, 2001
[profile] Mum, this is my porn empire… The Independent profiles Benjamin Cohen — a young “dot.com whizz”. ‘He shows me his bedroom, where it all began. It is lime and turquoise, with a sweet little single bed and, still, Winnie the Pooh books in the bookcase. Have you had sex, Benjamin? “I’m not telling you that.” “Why not?” “Because I’m just not.” Benjamin, by the way, is a Tory, an admirer of William Hague who, yes, would one day like to get into politics himself. “Do you think the porn thing will be a hurdle?” he asks.’
[must read] Salon reviews James Ellroy’s The Cold Six Thousand‘Ellroy once called himself “the greatest crime novelist who ever lived,” and then wrote books like “The Black Dahlia,” “The Big Nowhere” and “L.A. Confidential” to prove it. Now he wants to sit with the grown-ups, and if they don’t make room at the table he’s going to tip it over. One way or another, he means to make it, and on his own terms. “Fuck being a crime novelist when you can be a flat-out great novelist,” he once told me — there never being a doubt in his mind that being either one was merely a matter of choice, of will. Ellroy took risks.’ [Related: Cold Six Thousand at Amazon]
July 31, 2001
[comics] Pulp fiction — Guardian review of Comic Book Nation‘According to the New York Times , one in four magazines shipped to US troops during the second world war was a comic book. The superheroes fought the war, too, but they had to find excuses for not winning it immediately. Fortunately Clark Kent failed his eye test, so Superman could credibly remain on the home front.’ [thanks to John at LinkWorthy]
[politics] Extreme? I’ll tell you what’s extreme… — Profile of Iain Duncan Smith in the Independent … ‘The latest polls reflect Mr Duncan Smith’s strong appeal to the Tory core. But Mr Clarke is still more highly rated by non-activist Tories, and still more so by the electorate at large. Taunted as “William Hague’s dad”, Iain Duncan Smith comes across as a tribute to the ordered, proscriptive world of 1950s Britain.’
[comics] A couple of articles about Neil Gaiman …. From the Telegraph — Bitten By The Fantasy Bug and from CNN — Gaiman: ‘I enjoy not being famous’‘The Sandman stands as a key text of the Nineties. In it, Gaiman drew together many of the currents that bubbled below the surface of the times: a millennial preoccupation with alternative spiritualities, a New Age interest in dreams and archetypes, a postmodern fascination with mythologies and storytelling. A decade later, these currents are no longer below the surface. Indeed, it looks very much as though The Sandman presaged our present pop cultural landscape, for today’s biggest stories – from Harry Potter to Buffy the Vampire Slayer – exist in spaces it charted first.’ [Related: Gaiman’s Web Journal]
[distractions] Feed The Tango Inside‘Oh no! You’re not still seeing her, are you? You’ve been wanting to get out of this relationship for years, and now the mother speaks of marriage? You must do something drastic my friend. Make a pass at her father! Go on… just give his knee a little squeeze…’