Not Getting Off To A Good Start

I promise to be positive about something this week. But before that:

Live 8 Press Conference

Live 8. Sure, Bob, it has nothing to do with Live Aid. Completely different logos, for a start.

Live Aid logo

Oops.

So, then, the lineup. The French are punished for voting “no” on Sunday by having to face the twin evils of both Craig David and Jamiroquai (which seems harsh any way you look at it), and the rest of the line-up around the world looks just as uninspiring (Coldplay and Snow Patrol at the same venue? Aha, a game of spot the difference played before millions!). Anybody want to take bets on Sir Fabba Macca Thumbs Aloft McCartney performing a sing-a-long version of Let It Be? And what about people who don’t have a mobile phone? I realise that there’s only about five of us left in the country, but still, it hurts to be left out of the ticket lottery!

Ehh, maybe I’m being too hard. My original thought when hearing about this was that it was an obvious spoiler for the G8 protests in Scotland; keep the kiddies occupied while the leaders talk. But it’s clear that Ure and Geldof want Scotland protests. And in a big way. It just feels wrong, really, that here we are, twenty years later, and it’s the same names, trying to replicate an almost unique event. As if they’re trying to make up for the failures of Band Aid and Live Aid. And as if the leaders will listen. You can really see George Bush thinking “Muse are against poverty? Well, damn it, they’re my favourite neo-prog-rock-Britpop band! Dick, get me the Treasury on the phone, I’m gonna make a phone call…”

currently playing: ABC — All of My Heart

A Diversion

When you’ve finished laughing at Daniel Beddingfield’s inability to break the Top 40 (Bonnie and I have been chuckling about it all day, apart from when I’ve been saying “Are you my mummy?” in childlike tones to freak her out), here’s a little quiz.

First person to identify the comic that goes with each balloon (you don’t have to do the NEVER!!! one) wins a prize!

currently playing: Kenickie — In Your Car

Yay Summer!

Thermometer outside reads 32˚C. Hurrah!

(stays inside all day to celebrate)

currently playing: Velocette – Bitterscene

Moaning Ian

It seems all this week, I’ve been moaning and groaning. Sorry about that. One last moan though:

Huh? Considering how I was walking around Chapel Hill in September 2003 with a copy of Final Straw, how on earth is it eligible for this year’s Novellos?

Also: KEANE? A nation weeps, as the doom-laden sound of a frog can be heard on the horizon…

currently playing: Mint Royale — Don’t Falter

And Bill Nighy's Not That Great Either…

Someone! Please! Tell Richard Curtis TO STOP! Enough with the “See! Politics! Feel! DAMN YOU! Now, a shy Englishman joke!” sledgehammer. It stopped being amusing a long time ago, and now it’s just embarrassing…

currently playing: The Psychedelic Furs — Love My Way

Let's Do This Dance Again…Again!

A new Parliamentary session, and yes! Another lame bundle of cobbled-together reasons from Labour about why we should all have identity cards. This time? Well, the Prime Minister says we need ID cards to “stop the soaring costs of identity theft”. Wow, that’s a new one. Not quite sure how it’s going to stop people from rifling through bins, finding credit card and banking statements and using that information to sign up to new credit cards, gamble on the Internet, and generally spend money. Perhaps our new ID cards will include sentry guns. They’d better, considering they’re going to cost the Government at least £5bn in creating the world’s most complex biometric database, using all kinds of unproven technology. Oh, and they’re going to cost us roughly £100 on top of that as well. Oh, and has the Government mentioned that you’re going to have to fork out that sum every five years? No? Fancy that.

I spent far too much time last year talking about this, so go have a look if you want to hear my arguments against the scheme (and while I am a lefty ‘identity cards will insidiously change the relationship between the state and individual much for the worse’, most of my arguments are on practical grounds). There’s also the No2ID site, which has a very comprehensive FAQ on the matter, along with all sorts of ideas about how to protest to Parliament about this Bill. Hopefully, with the help of a few Labour rebels, the Home Office can be sent packing once again…

Oh, and there’s a report from one of the biometric trials at the Home Office’s site. Iris scanning seems to be the most effective, but look at the shocking verification rates for facial and finger prints: 69% and 81%. Wonderful, a £5.5bn system that might have a 1 in 5 chance of making a verification error? round of applause

Also: there are around 70 proposed passport centres to be setup. Everybody needs to be scanned…it’s going to take quite a while, isn’t it?

currently playing: The Go! Team — Bottle Rocket

Midweek

01 (NE) Crazy Frog - Axel F 02 (NE) Coldplay - Speed of Sound 03 (01) Oasis - Lyla 04 (02) Akon - Lonely 05 (04) Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc 06 (03) Black Eyed Peas - Don’t Phunk With My Heart 07 (NE) Amerie - 1 Thing 08 (NE) Audio Bully’s ft. Nancy Sinatra - Shot Me Down 09 (NE) Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl 10 (05) Tony Christie ft. Peter Kay - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo?

(it’s a week for music heartbreaking, it seems; Mark Radcliffe crossed the BBC picket line yesterday)

EDIT: From Simon Tyers’s spanking new blog with a snappy title: 40,000 copies.

Not. Enough. Gun.

currently playing: ABC – Tears Are Not Enough

A Broadcast To The Nation

People of the UK! This week sees a great turning point in our nation. A week where a decision will be taken that will decide our country’s destiny.

You have a choice. You can either buy Amerie’s One Thing, or you can contribute to the infection that is spreading through the internet and all over our TV stations by purchasing the Crazy Frog. shudder.

You have a choice. A vote for Amerie means summer, sun, and fun. A vote for the Frog pushes Britain over the brink. This will be our future: a naked blue frog stamping on our face for all eternity.

Don’t let it happen. Vote bing-bong-bing-bong.

currently playing: Saint Etienne — Nothing Can Stop Us

For Tom…

Tor - a system for almost total anonymous internet connections…

(and Happy Birthday to Bicester Richard!)

currently watching: Lost In La Mancha

"Hold me like you did on Naboo"

Oo-er!

George Lucas is not a good director. Or scriptwriter. Maybe he was once; many speak of THX-1138 and American Graffiti was some affection, but twenty years without directing a film has taken a heavy toll. Revenge of The Sith is full of pacing errors, clunky dialogue, and an over-reliance on CGI.

That being said, I really enjoyed it.

Won’t talk too much, for fear of giving away spoilers, but my favourite moments? The rather moving “Order 66” montage, completely stolen from The Godfather but still effective, “I have the high ground!” and what came five seconds afterwards, and the cuteness of The Phantom Menace returning with rather horrifying results (you don’t see anything, but it’s easily the darkest scene in all six films). Even Lucas’s ham-fisted attempts at political commentary (a sample: “This is how democracy ends, then. To thunderous applause.”) amuse - at least he’s trying. He’s not good enough to get there, and yes, perhaps he should have got someone else to help with the script, but at least it’s not just making a toy commercial (the actual idea of the new trilogy is fairly strong, and more complex than the first three, but Lucas’s failings mean that many of the subtleties are lost amongst the action scenes).

It’s not going to change your mind about the series; if you hated it before, you’ll really hate it after this, but otherwise, it’s a good ending to the new trilogy.

PLUS! YODA AS JOHN MCLAINE! “Come out to Dagobah, we’ll get together, have a few laughs!”

currently playing: Radiohead – Everything In Its Right Place