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The New Sleaze
Thursday, July 14, 2005  
Observing the Silence

Fittingly enough, I was on a bus to observe today's two-minute silence in memory of those killed on the bombings that struck London on the 7th of July. Unfortunately, when the clock struck 12 the bus was in the middle of the cross roads at Holborn so I and my fellow passengers couldn't get out to join our fellow Londoners and tourists (Londoners by osmosis) who had stopped whatever they were doing and come out into the streets to mark the events of a week ago. It was actually quite stunning to see. Office workers huddled around the entrance to their place of employment, people who had been walking along stopping to participate. It was as if someone had momentarily replaced London with a still photograph of itself. And when the two minutes passed we all went on our way and got back to work, or whatever it was we were doing. Because this is London, getting on with life and with living.

11:28 AM   (4) comments

Monday, July 11, 2005  
About the London bombings.

Not sure what I should say here. Probably worthwhile giving out the standard reply I’ve given to all the emails and phone calls I’ve received recently: Yes, I’m still alive.

Like most Londoners, I was using the tube to get to work on the morning of July 7th. In was waiting for a Piccadilly Line train that had been blown up half a mile or so up the track from where I was standing in wait for it. I made it to work, calling home when I first heard a hint of the explosions from London Underground Staff. I called home to confirm what I was hearing with the all-wise oracle that is BBC News 24. I then got on a bus and made my way onwards to work. I worked, got a bus home, and, perhaps most importantly, went to the pub. With the Police wisely asking for central London drinking establishments to refrain from opening in an attempt to guide Londoners out of the West End and The City, Thursday evening became the night of the local as Londoners first went home to check in with their loved ones and then went to the pub for a much desired drink. I went to the pub across the road with all the housemates and an adopted waif who had been on one of the trains that was hit. We had Pizza and pints. I’m still not sure how appropriate our responses were, but there seemed to be a shared conviction that if we stayed at home and failed to go to the pub, we would have let terrorists win. Fighting terror with hedonism.

London is a tough old city. People have been attacking it for at least 2000 years. It’s been burned and bombed and nothing has stopped it. And neither will a few more bombs.

4:31 PM   (3) comments

Tuesday, April 26, 2005  
Hubble trouble

With The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) celebrating it’s 15th anniversary of capturing stunning images of the cosmos, far in advance of anything possible by earth-bound telescopes, it seems an even greater shame that it could soon be scrapped as part of cost cutting measures. Hopefully, a last minute reprieve might be possible

1:02 PM   (0) comments

Monday, March 28, 2005  
Doctor Who is Baaaaaaaaaack!

Whoooooohoooooooo. Not only is that the opening notes of the Doctor Who theme music, it is also the sound I made while watching the first episode. In fact, I was so excited about the return of Doctor Who that I downloaded the leaked version of the first episode two weeks before its first official broadcast. I watched that too, and the programme’s repeat on BBC3 the following day.

It’s as good as we had any right to expect. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t going to please everyone but it was fun and made me want to see the next episode immediately. OK so I wasn’t exactly a hard sell – I loved Doctor Who as a kid, and my interest in it probably peaked at the moment the series was cancelled, thus ensuring that it would always live on in my imagination. But still, I’m glad it is back.

11:04 PM   (1) comments

Thursday, March 24, 2005  
I love film. I love well-made, distinctive films. But somehow film will always be a secondary love in my life compared to comics… Oh yeah, I’m sure people also figure in a list of loves of my life too, but that’s different…

Anyway, film. While watching a documentary on the making of the legendary British horror film The Wicker Man and the various trials and tribulations it faced in the making and more in the post-production, it again occurred to me how miraculous it is that well-made distinctive films ever get made at all. It should be remembered that, although greatly acclaimed today, the management at British Lion, the studio that had produced the film, derided it. It subsequently appears that the self same management were angling to make money by selling British Lion off to EMI rather than by making and distributing films. The Wicker Man was cut to shreds, but was eventually released, albeit as a supporting feature to that other miracle of a film Don’t Look Now…

In more recent years The Wicker Man has finally found the audience it deserves, thanks mainly to TV broadcasts and versions released on video and DVD, but it was so nearly lost and the cut that survives was not the full version the director intended. There are similar stories behind the creation of a wide variety of comics – Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli’s magnificent adaptation of Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy remained out of print for nearly a decade before finding a new publisher. It all goes to hammer home the simple fact that the success or failure of a film or comic, the miracle of it all, is not how much money it makes, but that it gets made at all; that it is actually available for the public to discover…

1:02 AM   (1) comments

Monday, March 21, 2005  
So, yeah, during my research into various guns for an article I am writing, I came across a banner advert for the military channel bearing the legend 'there are no national monuments to billionaire's apprentices'. The implication supposedly being that billionaire's apprentices do not on the whole commit acts of bravery like members of the armed services. However, I couldn't help but thinking that billionaire's apprentices tend to be quite well off and usually situated many thousands of miles away from the dangers of any armed conflict. But then again the slogan 'millionaire apprentices: better paid and safer than a career in the military' is hardly going to boost recruitment...
3:48 PM   (3) comments

Monday, March 14, 2005  
There are times when I miss smoking. Not many of them, but those moments are there.
Perhaps surprisingly, these moments don’t strike when I am out with friends in the pub, but when I am sat in front of my computer, when I have work or don’t have work , when I need to write and when I can’t. This craving has very little to do with actual smoking, a taste that I have very much lost. It is more of a desire for some kind of idealized calming process that isn’t Tea of Yoga. So yes, when I say I miss smoking, it is a bit of a lie, but I am missing something…

12:56 PM   (2) comments

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