Friday, August 31, 2007

Why I Love Wikipedia

Having had an instant-message discussion with the lovely Mr BC earlier about Falmouth in the Elizabethan era, I was moved to look the place up in that founte of all truthfull knowledge, Ye Wikepaedia.

Joyless people are always going on about how 'the' Wikipedia is scandalously unacademic and untrustworthy and all that, but the sooner you accept that some of it may not be strictly and accurately true, the sooner you can get down to the real business of appreciating its gloriously flawed nature.

Who wants stuffy academia, for example, when you can have lovely bits of user-generated bathos like this:

The name Falmouth comes from the river Fal, which is a Norse/Danish Viking name, strongly suggesting that the Danes used the deep water habour [sic] as a landing/resting place. During the Viking Age, the Danes did ally with the Britons of Cornwall, and the Vikings helped their Cornish allies by making pillaging raids on the South coast of Devon and Dorset, which was then controlled by the Saxons of Wessex, who were historically the enemies of both the Danes and the Britons.

Falmouth is the terminus of the A39, which passes in succession close to the neighbouring town of Penryn.

Which prompts the question: had the Vikings *known* about the A39, would they still have gone round the boaty way?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Never Mind All That...

...Spinny's back!

IN OTHER NEWS: I just found a grub in my M&S 'nuts and fruit' selection. A grub! What were they thinking? I'm not eating that!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where Are The Viewers?

Right, I have a favour to ask. You may or may not be aware of an online-only sitcom called Where Are The Joneses?, in which a woman finds out she has 27 long-lost siblings and goes to find them all.

(I say sitcom, it's actually an incredibly over-engineered advert for Ford, who either fancy themselves as the future of television (shudder), or don't mind forking out millions for someone else to indulge their vision of the future of television, but that's beside the point.)

What I want to know is: have you ever watched it? Do you know anyone who has? Have you even heard of it? I'm trying to establish if it has any kind of actual fan following outside of the people who created it (mainly Steve Coogan's production company Baby Cow) and the people who wish they'd created it (mainly viral marketing people at impossibly hip digital agencies).

NB it's actually not too bad - it's nicely underplayed and has quite a lot of subtle jokes in it - but you have to sit through 14 or 15 two-minute Ford ads episodes before its humour starts to become apparent. And you can submit your own script ideas and stuff via the wiki, because it's achingly cutting edge and interactive and that.

Although frankly, if two-minute corporate-branded YouTube episodes of 'not too bad' comedy are the future of television, I think I might retreat to a cave for the rest of my days.

Monday, August 27, 2007

And Finally...

And with that I pronounce silly season to be over once more, and I shall now return to writing Very Serious and Very Considered posts about Very Important Things.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Best Museum Display Ever

Why did no one tell me the V&A had an entire gallery dedicated to wrought iron? It's officially the most fabulous artistic medium known to man. Just look at this lot:

(This - above - is the best picture I've ever taken, apart from that one I took at the May Day protest in 1999 of a bunch of lefty wastrels with a French Revolutionary placard, which I have now sadly lost. I think my outlook on life has altered somewhat in the intervening eight years.)

And just for good measure, here's a picture of a filthy frieze on Exhibition Road:

And just because I'm having such a splendid, photograph-y day, here's a plaque from under the railway bridge at Stamford Brook. I have no idea what it means, but it must mean something to someone:

Ahh, London on Bank Holiday is great.

UPDATE: I made the nice picture into a negative using The Gimp (because I am too stupid for Photoshop), and I'm posting it here just because I like it:

I Like Cats Best

We interrupt this extended period of neglectful torpor to alert you to a piece of shoddy reporting from yesterday's Guardian:

"People may be desperately seeking the sun after the wettest recorded summer, but at least one species would have had it no other way. Britain's favourite mammal, the badger, may be found this weekend at home in his sett, with his larder full, his babes fattening beside him and very little need to go out and hunt."
(My emphasis)

A search for 'Britain's favourite mammal' on Google elicits no evidence of a collective national preference for the badger. But it does reveal that the Forestry Commission is confident that Britain's favourite mammal is the red squirrel:

"Pupils of Inverness's Smithton Primary School will on Friday kick off the great Highland Red Squirrel Hunt - and National Red Squirrel Week - and do their bit to help save Britain's favourite mammal from further decline and possible extinction."

...while a third faction claims the title for our spiky friend the hedgehog, and Swansea City Council makes a daring counter-claim for the otter.

None of these people cite a single shred of evidence for their claim, although the Guardian certainly has form (or, if you will, sett), having proclaimed the badger as top mammal as long ago as 1999.

Personally I would have put good money on Britain's favourite mammal being 'dog', 'cat' or, Heaven forbid, 'human beings'. But the category of 'mammal' has a long history of being appropriated by interested parties for their own political ends, as any feminist critic of Charles* Linnaeus could tell you, and on the strength of the evidence presented here, I can only assume that this continues to be the case.

*Carl. Ahem.

Friday, August 17, 2007

And Now On 'Postmodern Review'...

Yes, I know there hasn't been much writing lately; it's all the fault of the catalogue people with their bullet point machine, which has been taking up all my waking hours. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


When will it end? When?

UPDATE: It has ended now.

UPDATE 2: No it hasn't.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

And Thrice Bah

What I am supposed to be doing this weekend: going to Canterbury, dining by the sea with some staff and alumni of Britain's most creatively fecund chain bookshop, staying in a fancy hotel, relaxing.

What I am actually doing this weekend: sitting at my desk, editing a catalogue of IT companies.

Still, I can do bullet points now.

UPDATE: All this has possibly been made worthwhile by the fact that the catalogue includes the word 'dramaturgy', a word which has surely never before been uttered in the entire history of the enterprise software industry.

(I excised it immediately, to avoid putting fanciful notions into the heads of the fortysomething Home Counties-dwelling golf enthusiasts who make up 99% of the industry in the UK, like when my parents banned me from watching The Kids From Fame in case it made me want to run away from home and become a dancer.)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The One Where I Had To Work Late

What I am supposed to be doing tonight: having dinner in a swanky Notting Hill eaterie with the lovely cello, the lovely Pashmina, the lovely Mr BC, some other lovely Green Wing writers and a multi-multi-multi-multi-millionaire* Hollywood writer-producer, who might also be lovely, but I don't know that, and neither am I going to know at this rate.

What I am actually doing tonight: sitting at my desk, editing a catalogue of IT companies.

It doesn't help that I am doing this by means of an online editing system that I only learned how to use this morning:


ME (on phone to helpdesk man in Holland): I can't make it make a bullet point.

HELPDESK MAN: Yes. Have you tried clicking the 'bullet point' button?

ME: I can't see a bullet point button. It's all in such a tiny window.

HELPDESK MAN: Yes. Have you tried clicking the 'maximise window' button?

ME: Oh look, a bullet point button!

And I was planning on gleaning an entire year's worth of insider Hollywood gossip from this evening's bash as well. Oh well. Instead, stand by for a series of tutorials on bolding and indenting text. Don't say I don't bring you all the best content.

ALSO: All this stuff about how Facebook is killing blogging is making me want to cry, and then punch Facebook REALLY HARD.

* 'Allegedly'.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

It's Too Hot To Write... here's a poster for the most terrifying and yet the cutest motion picture Hitchcock ever made:

(Elements of the above artwork may be attributable to my very talented little brother.)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Just Don't Ask Me How I Know

The lovely Mr BC and I are in a minicab, on our way to Paddington Station.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: And now on London's Heart 106.2, Toby Anstis enters the Time Tunnel.

There is a slight pause.

ME: Toby Anstis's cat once shagged my cat.

Mr BC: ...

ME: Yes, I know, it's not one of my better claims to fame.

Mr BC: ...

ME: Actually it sort of is.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


At first I couldn't think of anything to write. Then I thought I would post Three Great Songs About Jesus. But then I could only think of two great songs about Jesus, and one of them wasn't about Jesus, and neither was the other one.

I'll try again tomorrow.