Saturday, December 22, 2007

Kylie in Smash Hits

This Christmas sees Kylie Minogue appear in Doctor Who (squee). A mere 20 years ago she was a pop star (and soap actress). Smash Hits was the greatest pop magazine of the 80s. I once used to keep a stack of Smash Hits next to my pile of NMEs. Kylie appeared on the cover of Smash Hits 5 times in the 80s, although I could only find the four you see above (click on the picture to see a bigger version).

Smash Hits specialised in asking stars stupid questions, like, what kind of sandwich they liked. Kylie answered:

A chocolate sandwich. That's my favourite food! I try to stay away from chocolate but I like things like flake bars. I don't like too many sweet things generally but I do like chocolate. When I was at school I sort of rationed myself to buy a little chocolate something and I'd nibble it really slowly so it'd last through lunchtime. Have I got any fillings? I haven't got any actually.
Which kind of sums up Kylie: only human, but perfect.

How to build a Cathedral, part 11

Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, California, December 2007

Here we see the Omega window. In the picture above the rectangular pieces are all in place. Each piece has a straight diagonal line, but the way they are placed together creates an illusion of a curve. Below we see the window with one piece missing (at the top).

Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, California, December 2007

Below we see the Alpha window which now has some glass. The steps here will form the main entry to the cathedral.

Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, California, December 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Year wishes

Dear Politicians...

I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I am not afraid.
Dear Apple...
I would like an iPod Touch with a hard disk please.
Dear David Tennant
Please keep playing Doctor Who. Hope you get a good rest doing other stuff this year
Dear Will Wright
Please try to get Spore done this year. But if it's not ready I'll wait.
Dear World...
Er... can we get this global warming thing sorted? Lets start with a painful carbon tax.
Dear Led Zeppelin...
Please don't tour. If you do I might have to go to a reunion concert in a stadium.
Dear Music Industry...
Amy Winehouse is really cool (apart from the drugs). But that doesn't mean we want to see a whole boatload of soul revivalists.
Dear Google...
look, I love you OK? We all do. I really believe you want to avoid evil. But you're just so big, I feel squashed. I just feel this is going to be a hard year for you. Try to be a bit humble.

Stairway To Heaven played by a Beatles tribute band

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Soviet Christmas Cards

My Faves of the Year part 1

Best concerts:

  1. Patrick Wolf. Why isn't this guy a huge star?
  2. SunnO))) In some ways hugely annoying but a fantastic experience.
  3. The rest.
Worst concert was Built to Spill at the Independent. This was depressing, so average that I could not even blog about it. Do the band hate each other or what? Is it a crime to be entertaining?

Best films (all watched on DVD on a pathetically small TV):

  • The Lady Eve (1941)
  • Army of Shadows (1969)
  • Black Hawk Down (2001)
  • Children of Men (2006)
  • The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)
  • This Is England (2006)
  • The Lives of Others (2007)
  • Knocked Up (2007)

Most disappointing films:

  • La Vie en Rose (2007)
  • Hot Fuzz (2007)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Daleks in Panto

I've got a friend whose friend knows someone who works with the people who are doing panto with the Daleks. Someone asked about getting a photo of the friend with a Dalek, but sadly...

The truth is the BBC made the producers and the Theatre sign a contract that no Dalek photos are allowed to be taken, and that the Daleks are not allowed to be brought into disrepute. Clearly we're all taking this very seriously.

Sadly we expected the Daleks to be pretty well made: after all, they want to take over the Universe. As it is, fibre glass and batons of 2"x1" seem to be in order

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ike and Tina Turner

This is from the movie The Big T.N.T. Show.

Update: read Donald Fagen on Ike.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Don't worry about the government

BAE Systems is a British defence and aerospace company with a market capitalization of 16.39 billion dollars. It is so big that the UK government stepped in to stop investigations of blatant bribes to members of the Saudi royal family and government officials. At the time the Attorney General said:

This decision has been taken following representations that have been made both to the Attorney General and the Director concerning the need to safeguard national and international security. It has been necessary to balance the need to maintain the rule of law against the wider public interest.
Doesn't this clearly say that for enough money the rule of law will be ignored? This is so pathetic that now even the United States Department of Justice is investigating the bribes.

In the Guardian today there is a compelling story of how BAE employed people to spy on the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), a small peace group. A trusted friend, activist and officer within the group secretly forwarded emails that ended up at BAE. Fortunately this case did not involve a £43 billion arms deal and in court BAE admitted that they had been paying for CAAT to be spied on.

BAE Systems has undertaken "not to intercept by any unlawful means ... [and] not to solicit, voluntarily receive or procure any confidential communication or document" belonging to CAAT. The big picture is that a multimillion-pound arms firm has been humiliated, it has been caught and forced to admit to paying for spying on a peace group comprised primarily of students and Quakers, and has promised not to do it again.
If you are an activist you have to suspect that the government is spying on you. But companies may be spying on you too.