November, 2003


I dug out my old cassettes of Arcadia by Tom Stoppard to have another listen.
I saw the original NT production of it when it visited Bath on tour some time around 1993 (I daresay I have my programme tucked away in the loft). Subsequently the production was recorded by Radio 3, and my cassettes are an off-air recording of that production which had the original cast.
I had quite an enjoyable couple of hours listening to the first two-thirds of it last night (it’s a long play), at the same time, dubbing the audio onto PC.
To be honest, I’m not sure how much I’m going to be able to clean up the audio, but I’ll have a go. I had a bit of a hunt around on the web, but it seems that the play was never released commercially – just the script (which I have, and was reading along to the production last night – it’s interesting to see changes and additions made to play for radio to allow it to be followed by listeners).
I just love the breadth and intelligence of the play, never letting the viewer rest or sit back as new things are introduced. Anyway – hopefully I can finish off listening to it tonight.

Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure

Dave Gorman happily showed up on both BBC London and Virgin last Friday to plug his new show – Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure.
Anyway, I’ve never purposefully tried Googlewhacking before so I just had a go. It took me a while, but I’m happy to report that “Tertiary” and “Evisceral” produced the desired result. Well they won’t anymore, but you get my drift. The intrinsic problem is that as you think of strange and bizarre pairs of words, they show up, if not in tandem, but together on pages which collect strange and exotic words. Clever.
PS. And it’s not my fault if don’t like evisceral. It’s a fine word.
PPS. OK, it might not be a word at all.

Matrix Revolutions

Finally got around to seeing the last part of the Matrix trilogy, although I’d argue that it was never going to be a trilogy in the first place.
Anyway, this was better than I expected. I’m not sure that I went in with especially high expectations, but the story was better than the last, and the performances are fine. Keanu isn’t actually in it all that much, but the effects are pretty good all the way through.
I hope that the Wachowski brothers leave at this, and that they’ve got enough clout that Warners don’t start adding extra parts.
It’s interesting to think where effects go now. The special effects really are fine, and so I want to know where they can go now?

ID Cards in 2013

Well despite a split cabinet, David Blunkett has published his plans for ID cards, which will carry all sorts of biometric data, and will be in place by 2013.
It’s interesting to note that the Cabinet still has to agree to cards becoming compulsory as well as Parliament.
It seems that they would stop terrorism, illegal immigrants, “health tourism” and rabies. Well maybe not rabies. Let’s face it, none of the other things are likely to be stopped either. Don’t I need a National Insurance Number to get a job.
Just as well there’s no-one who’d be prepared to illegally employ someone paying them cash. That sort of thing doesn’t go on does it.
More at Stand.

Panorama – In The Line of Fire

John Simpson presented an excellent Panorama on Sunday night about his experiences of the war in Iraq, culminating in an American jet inadvertantly bombing the convoy he was in. Despite the US special forces being in the convoy, several people died, and many were injured.
Among the dead, was a local translator that Simpson’s team had employed.
The programme is available to watch until this Sunday.

Agencies Together

There’s a great article in today’s Guardian by Nick Davies which looks at how all our intelligence agencies work, or rather, don’t work together.
Over a few thousand words, he details the problems that confront intra-agency initiatives dealing in particular with a terrorist threat in the UK. Some of it is quite shocking:
the Customs officers who intercepted a lorry with three tonnes of smuggled hand-rolling tobacco; who knew that the Real IRA had been raising funds by smuggling tobacco and diesel oil; who knew that the local Special Branch had asked to be informed if any such load was spotted, and who nevertheless seized the tobacco, released the driver and handed over the lorry to its owner without saying a word to the Special Branch.