Welcome To 2009

And first up, a heartly welcome back to Robin Carmody, who has a new blog. No joke - while I know he’s an acquired taste, I’ve always loved reading his unique take on children’s telefantasy, pop music, and British politics. Hurrah for 2009 already!

Lazy Newsround Reporters

Well, I can tell Aardman exactly where the ‘leaked’ clips came from. The whole episode of A Matter of Loaf and Death was broadcast in Australia two months ago (and in HD, no less), and is happily all over the torrent networks. Though I wonder whether the report is more about the BBC trying not to reveal that their Christmas Day premiere has been gazumped.

X-Factor May Good For Something, I Guess

It may finally kill off the Hallelujah cover industry…and thus we’re all winners.

The Lengths I Go To

I find it somewhat amusing that in order to guarantee me getting a copy of Phonogram: The Singles Club #1, I’m going to be picking it up from a comic shop 5,000 miles away from where I am now.

Bless Chapel Hill Comics and all who sail in her! Admittedly, I won’t be able to read it for a month, but as Kieron says it has been under-ordered, better to be safe than sorry.

(so yes, if you do see it in the shops tomorrow - do grab it while you can)

Anonymous To Action!

I wonder how many copies of Virgin Killer could be rounded up for a mass posting to the Internet Watch Foundation’s offices?

Actually, thinking about it, isn’t the IWF the group that will be handling the overseeing of the ‘extreme images’ monitoring when it comes in next year? That’s going to be fun.

Sky Christmas Ident

Is using The Flaming Lips’s Do You Realize? sending out the right happy notes? Really?

This Week...

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If you are thinking about buying a LaCie EDmini, let me be the first to tell you to stay away. Far away.

Advent!

I hope you enjoyed the first day of your Advent calendars today, everybody!

I know you're all itching for my year in review. Itching to an extent that even calamine lotion can't salve the irritation. You might want to hang onto the bottle until the weekend. I will say that most of my music choices won't surprise anybody, though I seem to be continuing my tilt back towards indie-r waters...

Spectrum...On!

Hasbro: delighting 80s children decades on:

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(still time for Christmas!)

Natura

It seems almost churlish to criticise Albert Adria’s Natura. It’s filled with beautiful and breathtaking pictures, huge double spreads showing off the cutting edge of dessert design. Oodles of new techniques and old ones polished up to insane new levels (some of the things they do with gelatin here are just mind-boggling). Even though most of the book is beyond me, it’s given me lots of new ideas already, and I’ve only had it two days.

There is, however, a slight annoyance. While the book is gorgeous, it comes at the expense of practicality. None of the desserts featured in the book have a recipe accompanying them on the page; instead there’s a CD with a Flash application which contains the details (along with swoosh-y animations). You can print individual recipes out, but the program seems to use bitmapped fonts, resulting in a rather 1990s ink-jet feeling to the printout. Especially annoying when you’re printing on a colour laser.

I can understand that the book is supposed to be a showcase of the desserts themselves and letting them stand alone, but the Alinea book is no less beautiful whilst still containing exhaustive directions alongside their photography. There’s so little information in Natura itself (aside from a scant twenty pages in the back about a few techniques) that the book is almost secondary to the CD. Which is a little disappointing considering that it’s one of the most expensive books I’ve ever bought.

Having said all that, it’s not going anywhere. I just wish the physical side of it was more useful than the virtual one.