2 June 2002
[royalty] Putting his best foot forward in the shadow of the Queen — amusing, positive profile of Prince Philip‘He is said to view the Prince of Wales as “precious, extravagant and lacking in dedication and discipline”. He disapproved strongly of Charles sleeping with Camilla Parker Bowles after she married. And when Diana came on the scene, Philip felt Charles was toying with her, by continuing to see Camilla. “He told Charles to marry her or leave her alone,” one of Philip’s friends said. “He assumed Charles would drop her but the silly ass proposed and then went on later to claim his father bullied him into marrying Diana.” The rift between the heir to the throne and his father has never properly healed.’
[comics] Preview of Grant Morrrison and Chris Weston’s “The Filth” — Looks Good … ‘”She-Male Nurse”. Best for Wank, Eh? Best of Both Worlds, Some Men Say.’ [via I Love Everything]
[bb3] Meanwhile, in the Big Brother House

PJ – “aww the games kicked off! … say 10 mins gone… Beckham, has he got his boots on?”

Lee – “you realise… this is like missing Wrestlemania.”

3 June 2002
[comics] Couple of articles about Comic Movies in the wake of the Spider-Man Film …

Angst in his Pants ‘As Ang Lee begins making his film of The Incredible Hulk, the hero of which is a personification of tormented male hostility, it seems inconceivable that twenty-first-century audiences would ever take to their hearts the kind of hero who soared through the clouds in Superman The Movie (1978). That picture looks now like a snapshot of innocent times every bit as nostalgic and obsolete as the images of gay abandon in the 1980 Village People musical Can’t Stop the Music. A Superman with that side parting, blemish-free morality and crisply chivalrous manner would be laughed off the screen today.’

How Superheroes took over the Cinema‘Last September changed the world. Even the escapist world of the comic book. Spider-Man the movie is replete with heartstopping scenes in which the superhero saves New Yorkers tumbling from burning or bombed skyscrapers, attacked by the flying Green Goblin, a one-man technologically enhanced al-Qaida. Haunting my pleasure in Raimi’s screen fantasies is the question: “Where was Spider-Man when New York really needed him? Why didn’t he, or some other superhero, intercept those madmen – or at least rescue their victims?”‘ [thanks Kabir]
[phones] How I became a ‘call’ girl — What it’s like to work on a phone sex line …

‘”Did you have any particular fantasy in mind tonight?” purred Jade.

“No,” the caller mumbled.

“What do you feel like talking about?”

“I dunno.”

“Where are you calling from?”

“Lying down,” he answered.’

4 June 2002
[comics] An interview with Neil Gaiman [Page 1] [Page 2] [Page 3] … On Sandman: ‘The point about Sandman is it’s the single largest body of work I’ve done. It was about 10 years of actual work. I started working on it in ’87, and finished it in ’96. That was a solid nine years, for eight of which it was coming out in the public, but for one of which was just me. Sandman’s 2,000 pages long. It was 4,000 pages of script. It was done over nine years and it came out every month. It’s still 10 volumes long. […] The only reason I survived Sandman, frankly, is that it was coming out every month.’ [via Sore Eyes]
[books] Narnia books attacked as racist and sexist — Philip Pullman on C. S. Lewis, Narnia and the “Republic of Heaven” … ‘Asked about his concept of a republic of heaven, Pullman said: “When it was possible to have a belief about God and heaven, it represented something we all desired. It had a profound meaning in human life. But when it no longer became possible to believe, a lot of people felt despair. What was the meaning of life? It seems that our nature is so formed that we need a feeling of connectedness with the universe. If there is no longer a king, or a kingdom of heaven, it will have to be a republic in which we are free citizens. We ourselves as citizens have to build the republic of heaven.”‘
5 June 2002
[comics] Gibbons Puts Two Hats On — Dave Gibbons is doing a new Graphic Novel for Vertigo called “The Originals”. The preview art looks incredible …

Gibbons: ‘If I was going to spend a year or more on a single project, it was going to have to be something I had a real emotional investment in, something that related to the real world I’ve lived in. Not a science fiction story, although The Originals is not set in mundane reality. Not a tedious real-life autobiography or a thinly disguised philosophical treatise, but a piece that communicated aspects of life that had been overpoweringly important to me when I was growing up.’ [via Barbelith]
6 June 2002
[film] That’s Militainment — a look at what Jerry Bruckheimer’s is currently up to… a new “Reality Soap” set in Afghanistan. ‘Interested to see just how highbrow Bruckheimer is prepared to go, I spin him a hypothetical scenario. Ingmar Bergman is on the phone. He’s making a new film about an old woman who suffers a crisis of faith at a remote cottage in Sweden. He wants Jerry to produce it. “I’d have a problem with that,” Bruckheimer admits. What, even if it starred Liv Ullmann?’
[comics] Crack!Comicks — a new site from Grant Morrison … About The Filth: ‘It’s bigger, wilder, uglier and more heart-rending than the best summer blockbuster movie and if, like me, you love the awful smells of failure, shame, male pattern baldness and seedy compromise, then you’re sure to revel in the squirming twists and turns of this exotic international spy-fi thriller, where games of identity, madness and planetary hygiene combine with perverted sex, kitchen sink realism and ultra-technology to blind the mind’s eye and infect the soul forever. Sights to scupper the sanity! Philosophies to burst the frontal lobes! People with combovers having sex!’ [Related: Filth Trailer from DC]
7 June 2002
[underground] Tube Map — Cal’s been busy again… ‘I know about 374 connections between 272 stations.’
[comics] Grant Morrison’s Filthy Mind [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] … A Newsarama Interview. ‘The Filth is ostensibly very different from something like The Invisibles – there’s no drugs, magic, pop culture references or tantric sex in this book, at least not so you would know. The Filth is immense, however, and builds to some rather disturbing conclusions about who we are and what we’re for. In some key ways, fans will recognize this book as something of a photo-negative of The Invisibles. The Filth is determinedly uncool, unfashionable and anti-stylish as a reaction to a lot of the more superficial glamour aspects of The Invisibles. The Filth is all ugly people and broken things, but shot in the most incredible colors and light.’
[plasticbag] Tom is doing a survey about Weblogging
8 June 2002
[bb3] Meanwhile, in the Big Brother House

‘Jade – “I love you chipstick”

PJ – “I’m not gonna lie to you Jade.. about this girl outside that I like.. if you didn’t have a boyfriend it would be different… cause I’m not with anyone.. this girl outside, no matter how much I care for her.. she has a boyfriend… I really do I really really really do care for her… if she hadn?t a boyfriend I would definitely get off with her now.”

Jade – “shut up…”

PJ – “well I would if you didn’t have a boyfriend…”

Jade – “shhhh”

PJ – “dirty git”

Jade – “I should just keep my mouth shut…”

They go quiet for a good ten minutes. Probably busy just fiddling around.

They whisper. Jade says “I love you” several times.

PJ pushes her out of bed.’

10 June 2002
[books] Strange ramblings in Woody Creek — interview with Hunter S. Thompson thirty years after Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas‘I have a photographic memory and a very visual way of working and thinking. Christ, the cops at the [narcotics and dangerous drugs] convention is a scene that will never leave me. And I somehow remember the [Mint] gun club and going out there [for the Mint 400]. I remember long boulevards and cruising them in those convertibles, really just looking for action. That’s what we were doing. When you’re working on a story, you don’t have to manufacture the action, but you look for it with a keen eye. You know, something that will strike a spark.’ [via WEF]
[comics] Spiderman Bursts out of the Page — profile of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spiderman … ‘Realising the tremendous value tied up in old Marvel titles should have been easy. But the company managed to botch the job, selling the Spider-Man film rights to three different parties. Even now, argues Win Wiacek, the company is taking little advantage of the Spider-Man film hype to promote its comic books. Selling Spidey figures made in the Far East is more profitable in the short term. For Spider-Man, a successful future is more likely to be scripted in Hollywood than New York.’
11 June 2002
[comics] Karen Berger and an Extraordinary Gentleman. [via WEF]
[football] Japanese Phase of the Day from Channel 4 News

12 June 2002
[comics] Grant updates — New Column, new Digital Ink… Scripts for the aborted Invisibles TV SeriesEpisode 1:

Malcolm’s in the Invisibles classroom, combing his hair in front of a mirror. With only a few little changes, he’s turned his 70s teacher look into Jason King. Shirt open, he picks up a groovy 70s jacket. Checks out the window where a beautiful blonde in a sports car waves up to him. The full Invisibles team is assembled here but they’re little more than vague presences in the scene. Ragged Robin is laying out tarot cards. Tarot trump 20 – the Aeon, which represents the Crowned and Conquering Child of the coming Aeon of Aquarius/Horus. Malcolm slings his jacket on.

MALCOLM : The ball’s in your court now, young man.

KING MOB : These things happen.

He picks up his gun.

KING MOB : When I was a kid, I always wanted to grow up and find myself living in a 60s spy series.

Pause. He smiles a dangerous smile.

KING MOB : Funny how things work out, isn’t it ?

Close shot of magazine slamming into the handle of King Mob’s automatic.

Tarot card close up as it snaps down on the table – Trump 16 – The Tower.

13 June 2002
[film] A couple of interviews with Willem Dafoe

Webbed feat … On his Green Goblin Action Figures: ‘Yeah. How about that? Now that I’ve made this movie, there’s a little bit of a, “What have I done?” thing. I’ve never made movies that kids could see, and now I’m ruing the day some little kid in the grocery store freaks out, “Mommy, it’s the Green Goblin!”‘

Dafoe’s Role as Green Goblin Isn’t the Stretch It Might Seem … On Comics: ‘”Growing up, I was aware of the Marvel superheroes, but I wasn’t much of comic-book reader,” concedes Dafoe. . “It wasn’t as if I was against reading them, it’s just that I wasn’t doing it. My introduction to comic books was through Zap Comix and Zippy the Pinhead. Those are the images I’d see when I visited my older brothers and sisters at the University of Wisconsin.”‘
14 June 2002
[tv] You ask the Questions… Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen‘Changing Rooms was the only thing left in the schedules on 11 September. We had the most phenomenal post bag as a result. People had been through one of the worst days of their lives, and for many that half an hour of the most irrelevant stuff – like me worrying about what shade of green to paint a breakfast room – was exactly what they needed.’ [Related: LLB’s Website, Changing Rooms Website]
15 June 2002
[blogs] Don’t Read This — transcript of an Instant Message conversation from Chris at Do You Feel Loved?‘If Osama Bin Laden was gonna drop a nuke into the earth’s core and said “The only way to stop me is… to suck off this monkey!” I’d just be like “Dude, that’s it? Whatever” and go to town.’
17 June 2002
[music] Mad For It — interview with Liam Gallagher …

‘…’I’d like to be in a big house in the south of France,’ he decides, staring wistfully up at the stairs that lead towards the pub’s exit, ‘with a deckchair. And the deckchair is outside and I’m in the deckchair just chilling right out. Forever.’ He says he’s looking forward to being 60 in that deckchair in the south of France. Age is not a fear for him. If he’s in that chair outside that house, he says, he won’t even mind going bald. ‘I’ll moan about it, but I won’t be getting a wig. I will not be getting an Elton John. I’ll just get a skinhead and have it large with a goatee, get meself a part in EastEnders where I can shag the barmaid.”

[Related: Vaughan likes Stop Crying Your Heart Out]
[distractions] Limber Tongue Gallery — unusual things you can do with your tongue. What can you do with your tongue? :)
18 June 2002
[comics] Challenging comics writer Grant Morrison true to form in ‘The Filth’ — brief backgrounder on Morrison and The Filth. ‘…he says, at heart, he is not some wildly perverse writer who happened to fall into the comics field. Despite what you read from him, he says he cannot be identified through his writing. “I’m really a man who likes to be alone and quiet,” he says.’
19 June 2002
[blogs] London Bloggers Tube Map — stalk your favourite bloggers via Cal’s tube map … [Related: NYC Bloggers]
[comics] Inventing ComicsDylan Horrocks on Scott Mcloud’s Understanding Comics

Scott McCloud -- Understanding Comics is Serious Business.

‘The problem with comics isn’t that they are crude, poorly drawn, semiliterate, cheap, and disposable kiddie fare (although most of them are). The real problem is that people think that’s all they are.’
20 June 2002
[people] A couple of celeb profiles / interviews I’ve looked at recently …

  • The golden rage of Superbrat (retd.) — John McEnroe … ‘Tennis’s long-overdue code of conduct was in no small measure implemented with McEnroe in mind and it duly snared him at the Australian Open in 1990, when he became the first player in 21 years of open tennis to be disqualified at a Grand Slam. By then McEnroe was 30, on the wane and, strangely, gaining in public popularity. “The more I lose, the nicer the crowds get,” he observed.’
  • Jack the Lad — Jack Black. ‘…the idea of seeing the D in concert could almost lure me to a Kid Rock concert. Even if someone held me at gunpoint and made me watch the headliner, it’d be well worth it to see Jables (that’s Black’s alter-ego) crooning in earnest the chorus to the tender, Journey-esque ballad, Fuck Her Gently: “I’m gonna hump you sweetly/ I’m gonna ball you discreetly…” ‘

[comics] Fake Memo about Superman’s Vision … old article from McSweeney’s‘Superman #102: Superman manages to resolve what would appear to be an intractable set of simultaneous crises (including a Doomsday machine, Lois Lane being held hostage, and a Kryptonite hailstorm), by using what are referred to as his “Defeating-His-Enemies Vision” and his “Hail-Reversing Vision.” This sort of thing is quite unsatisfying for the discerning reader, and, to put it bluntly, can only be attributed to laziness at the story-construction level.’
21 June 2002
[history] Richard Nixon’s Last Secret — audio archaeologists go after 18 minutes of conversation deleted (by Nixon?!) from a Watergate Tape …

‘The fact that the tape contained as many as nine separate erasures contradicts any notion that it was caused by an accidental press of the Record button. The culprit was either very anxious to protect the president or was a mechanical klutz. Both descriptions, Watergate scholars have noted, fit Richard Nixon. The 37th president was laughably inept when it came to technology. Haldeman recounts in his now out-of-print book, The Ends of Power, that Nixon struggled with the most basic functions of cassette recorders. The Army Signal Corps supplied Nixon with the simplest recorder available so that the president could dictate memos in the evening. But even then, the various buttons had to be marked so Nixon could use the machine without mixing things up. Put a man like that in front of a reel-to-reel, and it’s easy to see how a simple erasure could turn into a clumsy mess.’

[Related: Nixon Resigns]
[comics] Spidey and the Curse of the Comic-Book Movie … a look at the what happened to Brandon Lee, Christopher Reeve and Richard Pryor after starring in Comic-Book movies … ‘The curse is also judged to have claimed Margot Kidder, the acclaimed actress who played Lois Lane in the film series of the late 70s and early 80s. In 1990 Kidder was injured in a car accident, suffered through two years of convalescence during which she was unable to work, and was finally declared bankrupt. Four years later she showed up “in a distressed state” in someone’s back garden, having cut off her own hair with a razor blade. She was placed in psychiatric care. Since then her recuperative career has encompassed such films as Shadow Zone: My Teacher Ate My Homework.’
22 June 2002
[history] Deep Throat: Not the Usual Suspects — from McSweeney’s‘Richard Nixon: On a dark, rainy evening in the spring of 1973, President Richard Milhous Nixon, tormented by self-loathing, picks up the phone and places a call to the Washington Post. The rest, as they say, is history, my friend.’
23 June 2002
[bb3] When the Going Gets Tough, the Toughs Get Going — some interesting comments on Big Brother 3

‘It seems significant that, while this series of Big Brother has seen the most actual sex (that gory little escapade under the covers between PJ and Jade), it’s the ongoing aura of violence (the hostility, aggression and glowering resentment) that has been truly riveting. We might not like to admit it, but it is human nature to crane one’s neck towards an argument – we are all magnetically attracted to trouble, be it obvious (the chair-smashing ruck in the pub), or subtle (the backstabbing feud in the office). While I, for one, found it repulsive and tedious watching idiots like BB 2’s Helen and Paul leadenly flirt with each other, the anger whirling around in BB 3 somehow seems more honest, the resentment intoxicating, the unique misery of Other People impossible to fake.’

[film] ‘Who’s Tony Blair? he’s the US’s publicist’ — interview with Tom Sizemore‘I shared my life with a lot of drugs and bad girls. I was interested in fucking pretty girls whether or not they were nice people or read novels or knew who Winston Churchill was. If they had a good ass and did a bit of blow, that was good enough.’ [via Feeling Listless]
24 June 2002
[art] Every Picture Tells A Story — Jon Ronson on a family portrait …

‘A few years ago, John Birt came in for lunch. My father approached his table: “Are you John Birt?” he asked.

“Yes,” said John Birt.

“I wonder if you can help,” said my father. “The TV reception in this area can be all crackly and fuzzy. Can you do anything about this?” I think my father wanted John Birt to get on to the roof and fix the aerial.

“We spoke about all sorts,” my father told me on the phone afterwards. “The problems I’m having with my car – he couldn’t believe that it’s been in the garage six times.”

“Oh, and he hasn’t heard of you,” added my mother, on the extension line.’

[history] Inspired by the Finder’s guide to Deep Throat and MegDeep Throat was
  1. …a smoker and he drank Scotch.
  2. …a composite, if he (or she) existed at all.
  3. …the shadowy source who haunts the pages and scenes of “All the President’s Men.”
  4. …presidential adviser Patrick J. Buchanan.
  5. …Pat Gray, FBI director from May 1972 to April 1973.
  6. …Earl J. Silbert, an original Watergate prosecutor.
  7. …some sort of liberal bureaucrat.
  8. …a spook.
  9. …in fact, the lead actress in the film of that title.
  10. …a well-read but occasionally rowdy man.
25 June 2002
[relationships] Things my girlfriend and I argue aboutMil Millington on trousers … ‘This is how clothes work with me: I need a pair of trousers, I go out and buy a pair of trousers, I wear that pair of trousers for 15 years, or until a court order compels me to buy a new pair. Buying new trousers is very quick, because it’s simply a matter of walking into a shop and saying, “I’d like a pair of trousers. I’d like them to be precisely the same as the pair I have on now, except, you know, with knees in them.” Margret is different.’
[underground] Look Deeper.
[blogs] The Subterranean Journal of Tom Coates … Tom is Brave. Cal is Naughty … ‘There is *nothing* wrong with Paul Simon’s Graceland. It’s the first album I ever bought and I still listen to it and love it. Fucking Guardian smart-arse bastards…’
26 June 2002
[science] Professor Brainstorm — another profile of Oliver Sacks… On Chemistry and School: ‘When I first saw the periodic table it filled me with a sense of revelation. These were the building blocks of the universe, and they have a wonderful mathematical order. Comforting? Immensely after the chaos, caprice and cruelty of boarding school. Human behaviour seemed to be very unpredictable, whereas chemistry was the opposite.’
[blogs] My Blog, My Outboard Brain — Cory ‘Boing Boing‘ Doctorow on blogging. ‘…operating Boing Boing has not only given me a central repository of all of the fruits of my labors in the information fields, but it also has increased the volume and quality of the yield. I know more, find more, and understand better than I ever have, all because of Boing Boing.’ [via Kookymojo]
27 June 2002
[comics] The Aquaman Parody — flash animation distraction … ‘I’m drowning in self-doubt… because all my friends are trout.’ [via The Ninth Panel]
[tv] The Diamond Geezer — profile of Ray Winstone. ‘…it is Winstone’s ability to invest such characters with ordinariness that makes him such a fascinating performer. At the risk of inciting some “poncy” analysis of his acting style, I invite him to explain how he does it. “I dunno. How do you research being a child-molester, a wife-basher? Do you go and do it? In Sexy Beast, Ben Kingsley played a really nasty gangster, and I thought ‘hang on a minute, this is Gandhi’. But he said to me, ‘This is part of me. There’s a dark side within all of us.'” This is about as poncy as Winstone gets.’
28 June 2002
[comics] Perfect Victim — Preview of Filth #2 … ‘This is a joke. This is a fucking joke. When do I wake up and smear my padded cell with my own feces?’ [via]
29 June 2002
[tech] Microsoft Palladium — Start Here:

  • The Big Secret — Steven Levy takes a look behind the scenes at the Palladium Project … ‘Palladium is being offered to the studios and record labels as a way to distribute music and film with “digital rights management” (DRM). This could allow users to exercise “fair use” (like making personal copies of a CD) and publishers could at least start releasing works that cut a compromise between free and locked-down. But a more interesting possibility is that Palladium could help introduce DRM to business and just plain people. “It’s a funny thing,” says Bill Gates. “We came at this thinking about music, but then we realized that e-mail and documents were far more interesting domains.” For instance, Palladium might allow you to send out e-mail so that no one (or only certain people) can copy it or forward it to others. Or you could create Word documents that could be read only in the next week. In all cases, it would be the user, not Microsoft, who sets these policies.’
  • I Told You So — Bob Cringely on Palladium … ‘It may actually make the Internet somewhat safer. But the real purpose of this stuff, I fear, is to take technology owned by nobody (TCP/IP) and replace it with technology owned by Redmond. That’s taking the Internet and turning it into MSN. Oh, and we’ll all have to buy new computers. This is diabolical. If Microsoft is successful, Palladium will give Bill Gates a piece of every transaction of any type while at the same time marginalizing the work of any competitor who doesn’t choose to be Palladium-compliant. So much for Linux and Open Source, but it goes even further than that. So much for Apple and the Macintosh. It’s a militarized network architecture only Dick Cheney could love. ‘
  • Palladium Frequently Asked Questions … On MP3’s: ‘With existing MP3s, you may be all right for some time. But in future, TCPA / Palladium will make it easier to sell music, movies, books and other content packaged so that people can play them on their PCs but not copy them. You might be allowed to lend your copy of some digital music to a friend, but then your own backup copy won’t be playable until your friend gives you the main copy back. Quite possibly you will not be able to lend music at all. (It looks likely that the music publisher will be able to make the rules – and to change them at will by remote control.)’

[blogs] The Top 40 Most Popular UK Weblogs — The Usual Suspects, basically. I’m most surprised by #25, The Edge of England’s Sword, which I’d never heard of.
30 June 2002
[current playlist] What I was listening to late last night, courtesy of BlogAmp [via]

Beastie Boys – Sure Shot, Oasis – Stop Crying Your Heart Out, Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye, Prodigy – Out Of Space, Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again, General Public – Tenderness, The Verve – Lucky Man, Samantha Mumba – Body 2 Body, Nelly Furtado – Turn off the Lights, A.O.S. – History (Repeats Itself), Oasis – Stop Crying Your Heart Out, Sophie Ellis Bextor – Murder On The Dancefloor, Oasis – My Big Mouth, Serge Gainsbourg – Bonnie and Clyde, Bryan Ferry – Crazy Love, New Order – True Faith, Ride – Taste, Mint Royale – From Rusholme With Love, The House Of Love – Crush Me, All Saints – Black Coffee, The Monkees – Porpoise Song, Oasis – Whatever.