Well I had an interesting visit to Cornwall, characterised by failures of phone line, internet access, electricity, car battery, and my back, but I did manage to make some ambient techno music, which I attach for your listening enjoyment.
I watch a powerful amount of crap on the TV, it has to be said. I’m determined to raise the quality bar and reduce the number of shows I watch to only the very best, primo fino alla fine that the medium has to offer. After all, I have a lot else to occupy my time what with Go, reading a cube-shaped book about Dickens, and living the simple, ascetic, minimalist life of a Taoist monk, if it was a Taoist monk that eats a lot of crisps.
So here is my list of allowable shows. Some of them I have already seen but it would be better to watch them again, than to waste my golden autumn years watching lesser forms of entertainmint.
- Six Feet Under
- The Sopranos
- Breaking Bad
- The Wire
- The Tudors
- Game of Thrones
- Jonathan Creek
- Generation Kill
- The Simpsons
- King of the Hill
- Black Books
- Father Ted
- Yes Minister
- Quality documentaries, especially about massive engineering, or space. Or massive space engineering which would be the best.
- QI which is basically like an evening with me, only with less surprising facts and not as funny jokes.
- Lavish costume dramas (especially Dickens adaptations.)
I obviously had to eliminate a lot of quite good things in my pursuit of the greatest and most culturally significant TV shows of all time. Basically if we were sending a space probe out to contact alien civilisations, and we put a DVD on board, it is the type of thing that would go on that DVD.
You may disagree with the contents of this list - indeed, you certainly will - and of course you are entitled to your wrong views. Comment if you think I have missed out on something fantastic, because obviously I will never be watching any new shows again, as the list has closed and will remain as it is, for ever. [Updated April 2013]
This is a track by a lacklustre band that I used to be in called Duncan Idaho. If you get the reference, great; if not, you should probably read more.
We were inspired by inner rage to create this jam, which I named after a Penny Arcade comic (above).
This is a picture of my friend Matt relaxing in his charmingly-appointed living room.
An imaginary music festival that my friend Steve made up. He provided a list of excellent-sounding bands to go on the back of the T-shirt:
Another great comic from Hark, A Vagrant. It is a fair zinger too, though the odd gutsy female appears in Dickens (Madame Defarge in A Tale Of Two Cities may not be the heroine, but she does rather steal the book due to sheer bloodthirsty charisma. She is French though so cannot be expected to know how to behave.)
That rather underscores the point, though: women in Dickens are generally either Good (meek, mild, modest, and mouse-like) or Bad (proud, scornful, controlling, and harridanical). We know which one is going to get the boy (this and other mysteries are not usually a matter of great suspense in Dickens). There is generally a young male paragon in the story too, upright, honest, clear-eyed, and full of good clean Victorian spunk. In this situation a wedding on the last-but-one page is virtually guaranteed, unless one of them suddenly dies of consumption.
However, the novel being what it is, you can expect that the young couple will have to endure many tribulations and obstacles before their chastely joyful union, including the hero sometimes marrying the wrong person by mistake. David Copperfield does this in David Copperfield, hooking up with Dora Spenlow, who is in the memorable words of Blackadder, “wetter than a haddock’s bathing costume”.
My favourite Dickensienne is probably Little Dorrit in Little Dorrit. She supports her ungrateful father and feckless brother with furious and sustained bouts of needlework, and generally is a shining light of common sense and industry though surrounded by the usual Dickensian rabble of thieves, blackmailers, villains, cheats, debtors, simpletons, angry lesbians, wicked landlords, rakish artists, corrupt officials, confidence tricksters, and evil butlers.
Least favourite: I heartily agree with Oscar Wilde who remarked, “One would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without dissolving into tears… of laughter.”
The Moon! An amazing world right above your head, just three days away: ideal for today’s busy lifestyles.
I have often written about the Moon before, and taken pictures of the crescent Moon, the full Moon, craters on the Moon, a lunar eclipse, and mentioned the Moon’s powers of spiritual refreshment. It is amazing when you think all of that is available absolutely free, with no subscription required, just by looking up. Even wicked David Cameron cannot prevent us from enjoying it.
Tonight’s Moon is just past First Quarter and this is always a good time for seeing the Moon through a telescope or binoculars, because it is early morning on the part of the Moon that faces us, and so there are long shadows which give us maximum contrast. Reconnaissance satellites looking at Earth are aimed to pass over their targets in the early morning or late afternoon for the same reason. More precisely, they are often Sun-synchronous: chasing the Sun continually so that it is always morning below them, like Concorde racing across the Atlantic.
A day on the Moon lasts a fortnight, which is weird. When it is full Moon for us, the Sun is shining directly down on the part of the Moon that faces us, so it is noon there. By the time the Moon has reached Last Quarter, the Sun is just setting for the imaginary Moon folk, and when the Moon is new, it is midnight there. So it would be a very long day and you would almost certainly need a giant beer after work to recover. Luckily the nights are a fortnight long too, which would be a popular thing for the Governmint to introduce here. I would certainly vote for two weeks extra sleep a night.
This is taken with the Canon 350D and 200mm telephoto lens, a 1/10 sec exposure sharpened in the computer and filtered to remove the red channel, which gives slightly better definition because most of the skyglow here in London is red.
In conclusion, then, the Moon.
Light Through The Veins (Part 2) (now available on iPhone due to some tecknical magic done by me and Harry Potter)
I hugely enjoy making these photo movies, which are a bit like Pages from Ceefax if you remember that. Late at night on TV when they had run out of programmes and had to go to the shop to buy more, there would be a selection of digital textual information and bad ASCII art pictures, all accompanied by inappropriately relaxing music.
It takes a long time though as it takes me about three years to take enough photos to make one of these. Also Jon Hopkins albums do not come out all that often to enable me to take his unique and inspiring music and use it to lend an undeserved glamour to my grainy cell phone photographs. So enjoy this one, and peace be upon you in My name.
Also, enjoy a special appearance by Liz’s foot in this movie.
(The music is Cerulean by Jon Hopkins.)
It is a cheerful time at the moment as it is Spring and here are some appropriate colourful photographs, suffused with sunlight and lovingly melded with the magical, cinematic music of Jon Hopkins. It is my unofficial fan video for his track, which I am not getting paid for, and indeed will be heavily sued over.
You can see Part 2 here.
(The music is Light Through The Veins by Jon Hopkins.)
I think I stopped finding Garfield funny a long time ago, but I’m not sure whether it’s me or Garfield that has changed (click on the image for the full-size version). Thanks to Tanja for bringing this excellent Hark, A Vagrant to my attention.
If you are quite ignorant like me, you might have to look up some of the more intensely historical references, but I think this works even if you do not.