May 3, 2002
[spouses disunited] When Friends Reunited Goes Bad‘Until recently he had his details on this site, accompanied with a photograph of himself, which was an extremely good likeness of the ugly twat. Unfortunately none of you will now be able to look at his photo because he has deleted all his details as he is embarrassed to admit that on 5th January 2002 he deleted his wife and 9 year old daughter out of his life when he met a hoar called CLAUDIA *******, just before Christmas and began shagging the slag while his wife and daughter were out shopping for Christmas presents.’ [thanks Phil]

Update: The Register has more details‘The posting has been pulled from Friends Reunited, but we’ve been sent a copy of the page, which is now doing the email rounds. We’ve checked out the address of the poster, the tel no. (which appears to have been disconnected), we know the school and the year. But we’ve not made contact with either protaganist. We know that one national newspaper is on the case, so we reckon a local stringer could be camping outside the protaganists’ houses right now.’ [via Blogjam]
[comics] Jazzy John Junior — interview with John Romita Jr. from Newsarama … ‘My style may have been altered by a change of events when I got on Daredevil, which was my ultimate turning point. I was ready to get out of the industry before then. I got on Daredevil, and was given free reign by [editor] Ralph Macchio. He gave me permission to do full pencils and tell the story as I saw fit. Before that, I was always under Chris Claremont or Jim Shooter’s guidelines. From that point on, I was really able to stretch my wings.’
May 4, 2002
[politics] What I learned about Tony – the Hard Way — William Hague on Tony Blair … ‘All politicians like to identify with their audiences, but his desire to do so is extreme. People who listened to his speech of welcome to the Australians who came to London to celebrate their centenary two years ago could have been forgiven for believing that he had spent most of his life there. When Frank Sinatra died, he bizarrely announced that he had “grown up with him”. In the Labour party magazine it was announced that “Tony’s favourite food is fish and chips. He gets a takeaway from his local chippy whenever he is at home in his constituency.” In The Islington Cookbook his favourite food was “fresh fettuccine garnished with an exotic sauce of olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and capers”. So, even more than most politicians, he wants to be loved by everyone, and can act himself into the necessary part without the sense of the ridiculous that would overcome most of the rest of us.’
May 5, 2002
[disunited] Web Hath No Fury Like A Woman Scorned — UK press mention of the Spouses Disunited Meme. ‘…although the site carries accounts of marriages between previously estranged friends and even some cases of adopted children reunited with their natural parents, it is also responsible for a growing list of divorces and painful separations.’
May 7, 2002
[tv] The Young Ones Fansite — excellent episode guide and complete set of scripts [via Fark] …

RICK: There’ll be plenty of chicks for these tigers on the road to the Promised Land. This is it! It’s really happening! Who needs qualifications? Who cares about Thatcher and unemployment?! We can do just exactly whatever we want to do! And you know why? Because we’re Young Ones. Bachelor boys! Crazy, mad, wild-eyed, big-bottomed anarchists!! [Rick gazes ahead in horror] Look out!! CLIFF!!!

[The bus plows through a Cliff Richard billboard and over an enormous man-made cliff, crashing down hundreds of feet.]

VYVYAN, MIKE, RICK, NEIL: [together] Whew! That was close!

[The bus explodes]

[comics] Mad Cover Site — 50 Years of Mad Magazine Covers … [via Plep]

Mad Magazine Cover #166
May 8, 2002
[media] Paranoia, stupidity and greed ganging up on the public — Dan Gillmor on the “Entertainment” Industry … ‘Jamie Kellner, head of Turner Broadcasting, part of the AOL Time Warner conglomerate, told the newsweekly CableWorld that you are a thief if you use one of a PVR’s best features — skipping commercials. “Your contract with the network when you get the show is you’re going to watch the spots,” he said. “Otherwise you couldn’t get the show on an ad-supported basis. Whenever you fail to watch a commercial,” he added, “you’re actually stealing the programming.” It gets better. When the interviewer asked whether it’s OK to go to the bathroom or get a soft drink out of the refrigerator, Kellner replied, “I guess there’s a certain amount of tolerance for going to the bathroom.”’ [via Red Rock Eater News Service]
May 9, 2002
[net] Me and my Net Stalker — interesting article on stalking over the internet … ‘…last year Gobion Rowlands logged on as usual to check his email. There was a message from an unusual Hotmail address. Its title was Gob on Rowlands. Its text – not for sensitive eyes – read: “You probably don’t remember me, but I haven’t forgotten you. So you’re still into your wanky dungeons and dragons shit… Clearly you have lived up to your full potential: a self-obsessed arsehole with bad kidneys. Oh yes Rowlands, I fucking know who you are… So why am I emailing you? Just to let you know that you can’t leave your past behind…”‘
[destroy] Delete, Baby, Delete — on the difficulty of destroying evidence … ‘On the eve of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Iran, in 1979, American officials desperately fed secret documents into the embassy’s paper shredders. Over the next several years, while waiting for satellite dishes and Baywatch to arrive, the Iranians painstakingly stitched the documents back together. They ultimately published the reconstituted intelligence files in some sixty volumes, under the overarching title Documents From the U.S. Espionage Den.’ [via Sore Eyes]
[comics] Trash of the Titans — Kevin Smith on the difference between Marvel and DC‘I had Green Arrow referring to Green Lantern as an ”old fart.” This was excised from the story, and the term ”old toot” was used instead. Mind you, this was in the same month that Superman and Wonder Woman had such passionate sky sex that it shattered the earth in Frank Miller’s DC-published ”The Dark Knight Strikes Again.” The lesson: A Kryptonian can knock red boots with an Amazonian, but at no time can either fart.’ [via Neilalien]
May 10, 2002
[idle thought] Something I’ve wondered about… Who is Merv Griffin? [via Haddock]

Evan Dorkin's Milk and Cheese -- MERV GRIFFIN!!

Merv Griffin Bio — I think I’m beginning to understand now… ‘Merv became increasingly popular with nightclub audiences and his fame soared among the general public when he struck gold in 1950 with “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts,” reaching the number one spot on the Hit Parade and selling three million copies.’
May 13, 2002
[schooldays] Sacks appeal — interview with Oliver Sacks‘[He did not know] as a very young child, that chemistry would end up saving his sanity. But in September 1939, with war breaking out, his London school was evacuated wholesale to the Northamptonshire village of Braefield, and he and Michael became boarders, while the school became, by his account, a jaw-droppingly brutal institution even by the standards of the time. He was repeatedly beaten by a headmaster “unhinged by his own power”, who once hit him so hard that his cane broke. The cost of replacing it was added to the Sacks family’s tuition bill.’
[comics] All About POP — interview with Philip Bond … What made him want to get into comics in the first place: ‘The chance to use a talent for drawing to tell stories. That sounds like a stock answer, doesn’t it? OK, a chance to draw pretty girls over and over again.’ [via Bugpowder]
May 14, 2002
[books] A Deadline Bandit’s Last Hurrah — A brief review of The Salmon of Doubt from Douglas Adams. ‘…as Robert MacFarlane has already noticed in The Observer, Adams is more plausibly ‘the Lewis Carroll of the twentieth century’, a writer who articulated painful, accidental truths behind a mask of foolery and who found in his parallel universe a happy release from the vanities of earth and the almost intolerable stress of everyday life.’
[comics] Peter David is blogging (kinda) and REVEALING SEASON SIX BUFFY SPOILERS (beware) … ‘Greetings and solicitations. This will be the first of what will ideally be daily updates in this on-line journal. In the near future, we’ll have a regular Q&A set-up, plus we’re trying to figure out how to produce an on-line whack-a-mole.’ [via Neilalien]
May 15, 2002
[tv] It’s Really Happening — what it’s like at Greg Dyke’s BBC‘…executives trip gaily (in the old sense) down the rose-petal-strewn boulevards of Television Centre, chatting amiably to programme-makers they’ve actually met before, and insisting that everyone calls them by their first name. They still go to pointless meetings, as we all do. But now they can wave “cut the crap” cards so it’s pointless but fun.’
[comics] Theory.Org.UK Trading CardsUnofficial Card #21: Dave Sim‘Particularly toxic in the parlor setting, these slash and burn ideological stylings are not suited to those needing affirmation, or friends. Or sex.’ [via Cerebus Yahoo Group]
May 16, 2002
[comics] An interview with Chester Brown covering all aspects of his career … along with an excellent republished comic strip — My Mom Was A Schizophrenic. Brown on Peep Show: ‘I think there are a lot of people out there who do think that the person in Peepshow is me, portrayed accurately. They don’t take into account the fact that JOE MATT IS A LYING BASTARD!’ [via WEF]
May 17, 2002
[movies] Age Shall Wither Them — the Guardian on the twilight years of Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Willis. ‘…they’re getting on a bit now. Stallone will be 56 this year, Schwarzenegger 55, whilst Willis clocks in at a mere 47. Think of it this way: Stallone has been a superstar since the Ford administration; and Schwarzenegger first started to make his mark in Hollywood in 1968.’
[politics] Fortunate Son — the Barbelith Webzine looks at the murky past of George W. Bush. ‘[Fortunate Son] contained the allegation that in 1972 Bush senior had arranged for a Texas judge to have his son’s conviction for possession of cocaine expunged from the records, in return for which Junior performed works of public service. This last was already documented; the fact that he worked for a while in the early seventies in an outreach centre for teenagers in one of Dallas’ poorest districts has often been touted by republican publicists eager to round off some of their leader’s corners. Needless to say, it stands out like a sore thumb.’
May 18, 2002
[swimming] Don’t be so wet — Julie Burchill on Swimming Pools … ‘I’m not being a killjoy here. I know that swimming pools can be used for physical activities other than swimming, and that “breaststroke” can have a double meaning in any place where strangers are packed together wearing very little. In fact, “No Running, No Diving, No Petting” made it on to my shortlist as a title for my autobiography, neatly summing up my steadfast idleness, my obdurate heterosexuality and my intrinsic heartlessness.’
May 19, 2002
[books] Philip Pullman resources on the Web from Robot WisdomPullman: ‘The rise of fundamentalist religion I think, is the most dangerous aspect of late twentieth-century life, whether it is intolerance among Christians or Muslims or Orthodox Jews. I think fundamentalist religion is one of the greatest dangers we have ever faced. And so if there is a source of wickedness in the book, you can place it there… What makes a religion fundamentalist is the insistence that because of some book of scriptures or some revelation given to the founder of the religion, that they alone possess the ‘truth’. And when anyone believes that, they’re wrong. I think my position would be that throughout human history, the greatest moral advances have been made by religious leaders such as Jesus and the Buddha. And the greatest moral wickedness has been perpetrated by their followers.’
May 20, 2002
[film] The Unlikely Pin-Up of the Cannes Festival — interview with Michael Moore‘The film includes sequences in which Moore investigates the civilian Michigan Militia, with which Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh trained, and a bank which offers free guns as an incentive to clients. He also interviews weapons-obsessed teenagers, including one who admits to manufacturing home-made napalm. Rock star Marilyn Manson, widely accused of being an influence on the Colombine killers, makes a lucid and pithy response to the charge. When asked by Moore what he would say to the Columbine Killers, he replies, “I wouldn’t say anything. I’d listen.”‘
[movies] Road to Perdition Trailer … [via Ghost in the Machine]
May 21, 2002
[rip] Stephen Jay Gould is dead … Two quotes:

‘We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a ‘higher’ answer – but none exists.’

‘Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one. The tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the “ordinary” efforts of a vast majority.’

[Related: Metafilter, BBC News, Guardian, Slashdot ]
[science] MC Hawkings CribFuck the Creationists [lyrics] …

‘Fuck the damn creationists, those bunch of dumb-ass bitches,
every time I think of them my trigger finger itches.
They want to have their bullshit, taught in public class,
Stephen J. Gould should put his foot right up their ass.’

May 22, 2002
[comics] Leach Revisits Warpsmiths — Gary Leach to rework and complete his Warpsmiths comics written by Alan Moore … ‘…the decision was made to reprint the reprint the whole Warpsmiths story. One small problem though ? the original artwork no longer exists, and no reproducible copies were kept. “Garry gave away a lot of the artwork for the first two parts,” Elliot said. “He does have most of the artwork for the A1 story but feels some of it needs to redrawn. He’s a bit of a perfectionist – a perfect match for someone working with Alan.” So ? back to the drawing board. Literally.’ [via Barbelith]
[rip] Stephen Jay Gould Obit‘Stephen Jay Gould will be missed: he was a one-off and nobody can even try to fill his shoes. He was always there, ready to foment a revolution or challenge a cherished belief. He was a scientist, historian and populariser of his time’
May 23, 2002
[web] Geeks go hack to the futureBen Hammersley on O’Reilly’s ETCon‘It was either a masterpiece of timing, or serendipitous coincidence. Either way, 500 of the world’s leading developers, hackers and alpha geeks gathered in a Santa Clara hotel for the O’Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference last week. At the same time, Apple launched a new machine, Star Wars: Episode II premiered, the X-Files ended, and Napster shut down and then reopened. It was all just asking for trouble.’ [Related: Matt Webb’s notes on ETCon]
[science] The Man Who Cracked The Code to EverythingSteven Levy on Stephen Wolfram. ‘…he’s saying that all we hold dear – our minds, if not our souls – is a computational consequence of a simple rule. “It’s a very negative conclusion about the human condition,” he admits. “You know, consider those gas clouds in the universe that are doing a lot of complicated stuff. What’s the difference [computationally] between what they’re doing and what we’re doing? It’s not easy to see.”‘
May 24, 2002
[games] The Top 100 Video Game Engrish Of All Time … [via Lukelog]

[aftermath] GIs Battle ‘Ghosts’ in Afghanistan — great article about the mopping up operations in Afghanistan … ‘The soldiers would set up nighttime roadblocks to search every car coming north from the Pakistani border, a particularly dangerous task. “If the vehicle tries to roll through a roadblock that is clearly marked as a roadblock . . . they are now hostile,” Fetterman told his subordinates. “That’s hostile intent. They could hurt you with the vehicle. You are allowed to engage. I spoke to the lawyers about this.”‘ [via Red Rock Eater News Service]
May 25, 2002
[film] Dinomania — Review of Jurassic Park from Stephen Jay Gould in 1993 … ‘…the mantle of carnivorous heroism has clearly passed to the much smaller Velociraptor, Henry Fairfield Osborn’s Mongolian jewel. Downsizing and diversity are in; constrained hugeness has become a tragic flaw. Velociraptor is everything that modern corporate life values in a tough competitor—mean, lean, lithe, and intelligent. They hunt in packs, using a fine military technique of feinting by one beast in front, followed by attack from the side by a co-conspirator. In the film’s best moment of wry parody of its own inventions, the wonderfully stereotyped stiff-upper-lip-British-hunter Muldoon gets the center beast in his gun’s sight, only to realize too late that the side-hunting companion is a few inches from his head. He looks at the side beast, says “Clever girl” in a tone of true admiration (all of Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs are engineered to be female in another ultimately failed attempt to control their reproduction), and then gets gobbled to death.’ [via Robot Wisdom]
May 26, 2002
[blogs] Pat — the Scottish journalist and musician has a weblog … ‘pop, politics, technoculture…& scotland’
May 27, 2002
[aftermath] When Uncle Sam meets ‘Stan — another great report from Afghanistan …

‘In her book An Intimate History of Killing , the historian Joanna Bourke looks at the narratives men create to comprehend their own roles in war and, more specifically, in combat. Apparently, soldiers in each war look to the previous for a frame of reference. Those in the Pacific in the Second World War looked to the First World War. Those in Vietnam looked to the Pacific Theatre. No prizes for guessing where the men in Afghanistan were looking.

Thus the graffiti on the walls of the Portakabins where, if you got to them later than 9am, you’d be greeted by a 5ft-high pile of soldiers’ faeces:

Toilet 7: “I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds’; ‘I am become Bored, Destroyer of Motivation”

Toilet 3: “Though I walk through the valley of death I shall fear no evil, because I am the meanest motherfucker in the valley.”

Toilet 6: “MARINE – Muscles Are Required, Intelegance [sic] Not Essential”

Toilet 2 (women only): “I miss my cat.”‘

[film] Biggie and Tupac — review of Nick Broomfield’s new Documentary … ‘If James Ellroy wrote a novel about gangster rap, it would be a lot like Biggie and Tupac, teeming with chancers and casualties and underpinned by the threat of death. “You knocking like you scared,” chuckles the bodyguard who opens his door to let Broomfield in. And yet his timid knocking pays dividends.’
May 28, 2002
[comics] More Get Your War On [Part 10] [Part 11] …

Panel from Get You War On
May 29, 2002
[film] Soon to be a major motion picture — The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen‘Variety reported on February 20, 2002 that although Sean Connery has not yet signed the deal, he is in final negotiation for the key role of Allan Quatermain. Apparently, the storyline has been altered to include Dorian Gray and Tom Sawyer (the latter to generate more appeal in the American market). The $80 million project is said to begin shooting in the Czech Republic and Morocco in summer 2002.’ [via]
[aftermath] The Battle For Ground Zero — what happens next in NYC … ‘…very tall skyscrapers are out of fashion these days, isn’t there still an impulse, he asks, to see something tall and triumphant at the site? So what about, say, a 70-story office tower with a sculptural steel lattice at the top that climbs to the 110-story height of the original Twin Towers? And what if it becomes more delicate as it rises, suggesting spirits released into the sky? Then again, where will you find a developer willing to pay for 40 stories of unprofitable frosting on his cake?’
May 30, 2002
[comics] The Boston Globe wonders if Comics are Good or Bad … [Related: Metafilter Thread, via Neilalien]

Comics: a vast universe to explore‘Reading McCloud’s first book, you may find yourself feeling a peculiar combination of exhilaration and exhaustion. It’s a feeling that I’ve come to recognize as part of the comics-reading experience, at least for me. Absorbing complex ideas through the combination of pictures and words is a new skill for most of us, and one that takes a particular kind of intellectual effort. But it also rewards that effort in ways that neither words nor pictures alone can do. When we simultaneously experience both the visceral effect of pictures and the intellectual engagement of words, our brains connect with the material in a richer and more interactive way. Because we have to put the words and pictures together, we’re more actively involved in constructing meaning, and the effort wakes us up. That’s how it feels to me, anyway.’

Got plot? Complex thoughts? Imagination? ‘Growing up, on the rough streets of Chestnut Hill, there were two groups: the comic-books kids and the others. While I found myself drawn to such wholesome preteen activities as shoplifting Atari cartridges and sneaking Marlboros at the town dump, the comic book kids – identified by the Marvel classics they kept protected under plastic – chose the world of fantasy. These weirdos scared me: A kid named Brian who spent hours at Hebrew School composed a ”hit list” of countries he would like to bomb. A group of peers at grammar school formed the ”Chinese Ninja Club.”’
May 31, 2002
[web] The Guardian’s On-Line Section takes a look at what is available on the BBC’s Websites‘Every night in the UK, the dwindling number of executives left in the online content business must go to sleep cursing the BBC. Rather than worry about plummeting advertising revenues and failing strategic partnerships, the Beeb is in the enviable financial position of letting the licence fee take the strain, and now spends around £60m annually on its online content, all based around its home page. So what exactly do we get for our money?’
[tech] A couple of interesting articles from Steven Levy [thanks Kabir] …

Great Minds, Great Ideas — Levy on Stephen Wolfram and Dean Kamen‘“A New Kind of Science” is encyclopedic, a “Ulysses”-like text that applies Wolfram’s ideas to a wide range of subjects: physics, math, philosophy, robotics, economics, logic, even theology. One reason it took him so long is that he kept unearthing new discoveries in various fields. It became a joke among his assistants. “So you’re going to figure out some big thing in this field in the next couple of days?” they’d ask. And Wolfram would say, “Yes, that’s what I’m going to do.” And proceed to do it, at least on his terms.Some scientists aren’t exactly thrilled. “There’s a tradition of scientists approaching senility to come up with grand, improbable theories,” says physicist Freeman Dyson. “Wolfram is unusual in that he’s doing this in his 40s.”’

Will the Blogs Kill Old Media? — Levy on Blogs. ‘…once you’ve created your blog and filled it with links to news accounts of the Pim Fortuyn assassination, snarky criticisms of Bill O’Reilly and witty rants about airport security, how do you get visitors? Judging from the top blogs, the answer seems to be working hard, filling a niche, winning a reputation for accuracy, developing sources and writing felicitously. This sounds a lot like the formula to succeed as a journalist inside the Big Media leviathan. With the difference that traditional journalists uh, get paid. What makes blogs attractive — their immediacy, their personality and, these days, their hipness — just about ensures that Old Media, instead of being toppled by them, will successfully co-opt them. You might argue that it’s happened already.’
[omg!] Spiderman Body Painting [Warning: Link Contains Gratuitous Pictures of Blue Penis.] … Painted Naked Man As Spiderman. WHY? DEAR GOD, WHY?! [via FilePile]
June 2, 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.”

June 3, 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.’

June 4, 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.”‘
June 5, 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]
June 6, 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]
June 7, 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
June 8, 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.’

June 10, 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.’
June 11, 2002
[comics] Karen Berger and an Extraordinary Gentleman. [via WEF]
[football] Japanese Phase of the Day from Channel 4 News

June 12, 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.

June 13, 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.”‘
June 14, 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]
June 15, 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.’
June 17, 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? :)
June 18, 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.’
June 19, 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.’
June 20, 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.’
June 21, 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.’
June 22, 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.’
June 23, 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]
June 24, 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.
June 25, 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…’
June 26, 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]
June 27, 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.’
June 28, 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]
June 29, 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.
June 30, 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.

July 1, 2002
[comics] The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. II — Mini preview site for Alan Moore and Kev O’Neill’s new comic … ‘The adventurous proceedings immediately follow the explosive events in Volume One. The year is 1898, and there are strange rumblings in the sky. Flashing lights are dancing across the horizon. The Martians are coming?and our Earth will never be quite the same. The legendary Allan Quatermain, the unflappable Mina Harker, the stoic Captain Nemo, the abominable Mr. Hyde, and the grotesque Griffin Hawley once again are needed by the Empire to overcome the direst of odds. Some will live, some will die?all will be remembered.’ [via Barbelith]
[films] TV Picks of the Week — brief reviews of films on TV this week… Bullitt: ‘Steve McQueen’s laconic San Francisco cop, Frank Bullitt, was a role model for many a detective to come, and so cool he makes Clint’s Dirty Harry look hysterical. But McQueen also makes the character believable; a committed man who feels genuine anger at the corrupt politician (Robert Vaughn) he doggedly trails, while embroiled in a realistically shaky relationship with girlfriend Jacqueline Bisset. The celebrated car chase, up and over the hilly Frisco streets, was another first of its kind, much imitated but rarely beaten.’
July 2, 2002
[blogs] Barbeblogs — The Barbelith Underground gets it’s own communuity blog site…. ‘We are neither a cult nor a religion. We are a large group of lightly cracked pots, entertaining ourselves by exchanging bundles of electrons.’ [via]
[comics] The WEF Shutdown — Warren Ellis is shutting down his long running Forum‘Time for change. I’m all done.’
July 3, 2002
[tv] Deconstructing Buffy — why academics can’t get enough of Buffy … ‘This is what attracts the intellectuals: the fact that Buffy the Vampire Slayer allows you to choose whether you are going to wallow in mindless, soapy action, or indulge yourself in the luxury of thought. Either way, it is wonderful.’ [via]
July 4, 2002
[war] Is this World War III? — Dan Hartnung wonders about a name for the current conflict and discusses the origin of the term “World War II”. ‘…when Germany entered Poland on September 2, it was as if the storm had finally come ashore. The next day, Britain and France honored their mutual defense treaty with Poland and declared war. A famous photograph had a newspaper vendor in a sandwich board which read WORLD WAR DECLARED (OFFICIAL) that same day. ‘ [via Follow Me Here]
[politics] Hell hath no fury like Iain’s scorn — Simon Hoggart’s view of Prime Ministers Question Time … ‘The last question went to Ann Winterton, whose MP husband Nicholas has been recently knighted. The speaker called her Lady Winterton. What a strange country this is, in which two months ago a frontbencher can be fired for telling a joke which ends: “In our country Pakis are 10 a penny”, and is now honoured by the title Lady.’
[comics] More Warren Ellis stuff:

  • Bad Signal: OPi8 Forum — Warren is creating an invitation-only weblog based in a Delphi Forum [wtf?] … ‘if you think blogs are basically just guys talking about how they have no friends, you need to read these. Actual content by people with lives.’
  • Amusing Barbelith Thread on the closure of the Warren Ellis Forum‘I will not miss the WEF, and I’m sure another haven for the more pretentious sort of fatbeard will emerge in no time.’

July 5, 2002
[world] Like Dallas policed by the Taliban — inside Saudi Arabia … ‘[Saudi Arabia] is a country of astonishing contrasts. Riyadh is a hyper-modern city with ancient social customs. It is Dallas, Texas, policed by the Taliban. Women entirely shrouded in black abayas , with even their eyes covered, go shopping at a Harvey Nichols inside a Norman Foster building. Men pour into the mosque under an enormous neon sign advertising Sony, as if they were entering an electrical goods sale rather than a place of worship. McDonald’s is seemingly on every street corner, and yet it closes its doors five times a day for prayers – making Saudi Arabia unique as a country where the most powerful franchise on earth bends its knees in front of an even stronger brand: Allah.’
[comics] The storymaker behind Spider-Man — Tommorrow’s World interview with Stan Lee … [via Haddock]
July 6, 2002
[bb3] Meanwhile, in the Big Brother House

Adele – “If you want me to be there when you come out will you tell them?”

Alex – “Look, I’ll tell them there is no problem you being there, but don’t just come down for no reason.. just if you want to…”

Adele – “mmmm…” (smooch)

Alex – “… it’s no problem… but I just don’t want you to come down for…”

Adele – “not at all”

Alex – “… no reason”

Alex – (muffled in Adele’s shoulder) “I can’t believe it… I CAN’T”

Adele – “I just… I had a bad feeling… I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know”

Adele – “Do I look fat?”

July 7, 2002
[crime] Shadow of doubt? — Is Barry George innocent of the murder of Jill Dando?

‘Ever the fantasist, Barry George may now be adapting to his notoriety (two tabloid newspapers have advertised tapes of prison “confessions”), but he should be a footnote in this story. Apart from that invisible speck of explosives residue found on his coat, the police found no evidence that he had possessed guns or ammunition in the past 15 years. He had neither expertise in weapons, nor the resources to modify them. He had no car, no money. There was no forensic evidence found in his flat: remarkably, police found no explosives residue there, even though it was assumed that he’d gone home to change straight after the shooting. The two squads of officers, 50 in all, who surveilled his movements for more than three weeks before his arrest gleaned no evidence to assist their case. Dando’s neighbours, the only two eyewitnesses, failed to pick out George in an identity parade.’

[sex] Whorechalking — Tom and Cal reinvent the London Prostitute Carding Industry‘…thanks to the magic of chalk and walls you can now be quickly and easily connected to the seediest side of the sex industry wherever you go! Introducing WHORECHALKING. Prove your manhood today. Go fuck something!’ [Related (kinda): Prostitute Trading Trumps]
July 8, 2002
[blogs] Gerard and Dan find each other. From this

‘I’m saying, you simpleton, that to claim that the RSPCA is wasting its time complaining about the welfare of animals while people are dying all over the world, when your own life is so utterly and comically meaningless, is hypocrisy. Or, more precisely, stupidity.’

To this (in about 17 moves) …

‘Mr Dan, where do you live? If it’s London, I’d love to meet up for a (non-alcoholic) drink. You seem like an interesting fellow.’

[euro] A Goosestep too Far? — commentary on Rik Mayall’s pro-Euro Hitler and a brief look at Nazi / Hitler satire …

Rik Mayall as Hitler ... Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Euro.

‘There is a long heritage of Nazi satire, some funny, some trenchant, some negligible, some stupid (we salute you, Freddie Starr, particularly for that hilarious touch of putting the Führer in shorts). When John Cleese put an index finger to his upper lip and did his gangly approximation of a goosestep through the lobby of Torquay’s most benighted hotel, it was funny and important, particularly as it came in a context of lampooning one Briton’s cartoonish views of Germans.’
July 9, 2002
[euro] They Said What? — Eddie Izzard on the Euro: ‘I’m travelling in Spain where everyone’s using the euro. They haven’t all drowned, everyone’s speaking Spanish, they haven’t become English. they haven’t become Welsh, they haven’t become Afghans.’
[politics] A Political Torpedo — a mad profile of Boris Johnson which suggests he could be a future Tory Leader …

‘In many respects he embodies all that is supposed to be politically unacceptable in a modern prime minister. He’s an outrageous toff and an image consultant’s disaster area. What’s more, he has no man-of-the-people credentials at all. Yet, assuming another election defeat, after the disappointment of a decade of William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith, the Tories may well be in the mood for a wild card. The electorate will eventually tire of the joyless puritanism of the Blair-Brown regime. If the Tories want to play the joker, Boris could be their man.’

[comments] I’ve been playing around with the commenting system on LinkMachineGo so let me know if you have any problems… Also, go checkout the Deconstructing Buffy Comments — very insightful. ‘Faith’s just dirty whore sex. Oz is zen personified. But I can’t stop worshipping Cordelia.’
July 10, 2002
[tv] Big Brother, Where Art Thou? — comment on the success of Big Brother 3. More people are watching it but the media frenzy around it has died down … Peter Bazalgette: ‘Big Brother has moved out into populist television. You can’t read the runes after one set of viewing figures but if – and I stress if – we have reached the so-called ‘tipping point’ of the show [Malcolm Gladwell’s description for ‘that moment in an epidemic when a virus reaches critical mass’], we will now start to hear negative remarks from the people who originally lauded it for being a cult revelation.’
[comics] Everything I Need To Know I Learned From The X-Men — the wisdom of X-Fans … ‘When your Dad asks why you need to borrow money telling him its for comics is not a good idea. Not when you’re 24 years old.’
July 11, 2002
[advert] Wheels Within Wheels — brief commentary on the Mercedes car advert …

'I'm just lucky.'

‘…the Mercedes branding of Lucky Star is subtle, verging on imperceptible. Those who watch the trailer and are eager to find out more will unearth not a high-octane thriller, but an invitation to their nearest Mercedes showroom. Whether Mann’s glacé camerawork will then be enough to sustain that interest once they notice the car’s £92,000 price tag is moot. For Mercedes, it is evidently a risk worth taking. The prize, after all, is precious indeed: the neutering of our scepticism when confronted with advertising.’
[questions] You Ask The Questions… Richard Branson‘Q: Are you a member of the mile-high club? A: The funniest letter of complaint I ever had was from a Virgin Atlantic passenger who complained that the sinks in the toilets of the new Airbus A340 were too small to fit his wife’s bottom into when they were having sex on board. It included a drawing of a more comfortable sink for future use. As to whether I have ever joined the club. Well… certainly not since Virgin Atlantic started flying 18 years ago, but, having said that, we are not the sort of airline that bangs on the door if a couple have been in there for a few minutes.’
July 12, 2002
[comics] Doran Talks Orbiter — Colleen Doran discusses her new graphic novel collaboration with Warren Ellis … ‘To me, being a cartoonist means world-building. We are creating a reality from nothing, and everything matters. People’s costumes matter, their body language matters. The sets matter a great deal – that creates the world, they create the reality for the reader, and it should be complete. I know a lot of artists don’t believe that – they like the art to be very, very simple, and leave the detail up to the mind of the reader, but what about leaving it in the mind of the writer and artist, and allow us to bring you into our world and let the reader visit what we’ve envisioned, a complete vision – something that is three dimensional and totally realized and will take you completely out of yourself.’ [Related: A Distant Soil Website]
July 15, 2002
[film] Why Does Everyone Want To Get Into Bed With Him? — profile of Mike Myers … ‘The Austin Powers films do contain some fine things. The opening sequence of the first film, in which Myers, resplendent in frilly collar, jives through a blatantly fake swingin’ London, pursued by crowds of adoring females, is pure delight; and if nothing else, he deserves credit for pulling off the unlikely feat of turning Liz Hurley into a plausible representative of sexual puritanism and female equality. But there is little quality control; Powers picking up a stool sample in mistake for a coffee pot and saying ‘This coffee smells like shit’? gives a new significance to the fact that he listed Some Mothers Do’ Ave’ Em and On the Buses as great British comedies.’
[funny] The Big Book of Sign Language [via Haddock]

My Equipment is Largely Inadequate...

‘Deaf people having sex? Of course not. But they like to talk about it just like anyone else, and the modern lexicon of sign language terminology is exhaustive and more than up to the challenge. Our sign language dictionary concludes with succinct, suitable ways to communicate one’s sexual wishes to a deaf partner.’
July 16, 2002
[comics] Dr. Strange — interview with Grant Morrison. Morrison on The Filth: ‘Yeah, well, The Invisibles was filled with sexy, beautiful people, and The Filth is filled with ugly, hopeless people who can’t get sex and all the sex is bad sex. The fashions are ugly, and everything is wrong, but there is a kind of real heart to it, which The Invisibles doesn’t have. The Invisibles is more like Vogue, and I just wanted The Filth filled with flapping comb-overs and hopelessly degraded paunches. I think it’s funny, because it is basically about super spies–but the super spies are garbage men. Everything about it is kind of taking the worst aspects of existence and kind of turning it into super-computer-generated DVD glamour.’ [via Neilalien]
[film] Last Typhoon Cimino Is Back — off-beat profile / interview of movie director Michael Cimino. ‘…the trauma of Heaven’s Gate and its aftermath may not have left Mr. Cimino entirely unchanged. Or so Gore Vidal wondered a while back when he called his former collaborator, for whom he did an uncredited polish on the script for The Sicilian.”Michael,” Mr. Vidal said, “I just read in the newspaper that you had a sex change.” At 62, Mr. Cimino looks like a cross between a cowboy hipster and your great-aunt Bessie.’
July 17, 2002
[film] Chronicle of a Death Foretold — Greil Marcus on the Manchurian Candidate, John Frankenheimer and the Kennedy Assasinations … Frankenheimer: ‘I can see Bobby’s face on a big television monitor in the ballroom and I can see his back for real. As I stood there a figure went by me and it was as if there was electricity coming out of his body. I’ve never felt anything like it before or since. Of course it was Sirhan Sirhan.’
[tv] A couple of reports on the current position of the BBC

  • Gentle giant? ‘…the corporation is a many-tentacled monster that would be unrecognisable to wireless entrepreneurs of the early 1920s. It has staff numbers that would dwarf many a small city and an annual income of £3.16bn that, if it was a country, would make it a rival of the GDP of Iceland or Mongolia. Plainly the BBC has more global clout than either country. There is no 24-hour rolling news network pumped out from Rekyavik or Ulan Bator. The BBC has more world-class orchestras than either Iceland or Mongolia, and possibly both. Neither has a publicly funded news website that can draw on the journalistic talents of one of the biggest multimedia news-gathering teams in the world. Neither has a film industry that would bear comparison with BBC Films. Neither has Nicky Campbell enjoining people to “join the nation’s conversation” on Radio 5 Live or Anne Robinson debasing that conversation by means of scripted insults on a vile, though extremely popular, game show.’
  • Boxing clever: Greg’s debt to John‘The air of despair that descended during the dark days of John Birt has been lifted; where once there was discord, Saint Dyke of White City sows harmony. “I remember going to my first meeting of the executive committee and hearing laughter coming out of the door,” cooed the corporation’s new director of television, Jana Bennett, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph last week. “I assumed I was in the wrong place. But when I peeked in, there they all were – and they were actually enjoying themselves.” Over at doom-laden ITV, the only sounds are the scraping of chins dragging along the floor and the occasional splash as another executive jumps ship. At Channel 4 it’s worse: hundreds are waiting to pick up their P45s as Mark Thompson claws back the excesses of recent years.’

July 18, 2002
[comics] has some great interviews with the creators who have worked on Daredevil notably Bill Sienkiewicz, Ann Nocenti, D.G. Chichester, Scott McDaniel and Kevin Smith … Sienkiewicz on Frank Miller and Elektra: ‘It was like jazz. Frank and I riffed off each other. For example, the character of Garrett in Elektra: Assassin was supposed to be killed at the end of the second issue. When Frank saw what I came up with, he decided Garrett was too good visually to die just yet. Thing is, Frank’s writing really inspired me to play and to take chances, so if he felt he got anything decent from me, it was as a result of getting gold from him. Frank’s keen on letting creative collaborations breathe. That’s part of his brilliance.’
[blogs] As always the conversation around the Guardian’s Great British Blog Competition makes it much more interesting…

Meta-Blogging: #1, #2, Blogjam, Inkiboo, Metafilter, Grayblog,,, Wherever You Are, Venusberg, Blogadoon Troubled Diva #1, #2, #3 … ‘if you look at the opinions that matter to people, it’s mostly not celebrities or media figures. In many ways, for a large number of people, they’re almost the enemy! They’re relics from the past where for the most part we are kind of the future – the future where everybody is a superhero! Where we all get a slice of the cake, a bite of the cherry. And more importantly, there’s a real feeling that these people most often don’t understand what we’re doing anyway! We’ve seen people like this for years – it’s all PR blurb and airbrushed skin. I don’t think that’s what the weblogging publishing revolution is about! Make them start their own weblogs!’