rashbre central: May 2005

Monday 30 May 2005

Sign of times?

So the Scottish Bank Holiday shops were open and there was a bustle in the village. Sadly the Silver Teapot is now ‘closed for good’, as the sign said. This teahouse had lively conversations along with “help yourself” biscuits at every table. A couple of doors to the left, a new Internet cafĂ© has opened, with black Wintel towers on every desk.

Sunday 29 May 2005


An agreeable day relaxing in the Lodge. Views of fir trees and hills, sounds of nature and an occasional jet fighter.

Saturday 28 May 2005

Polar Mercedes

Edinburgh on a mission to see Mercedes the Polar Bear. These massive insular creatures have the Arctic as their home. Thanks, Ben, for this opportunity to wonder.

Friday 27 May 2005

Cameron House for dinner

One of those sublime moments where a great venue, great company and great food coalesce to make a great evening. No pipers necessary.

Loch Lomond

DSC_1685 lomond
So we travelled on to Scotland and to the shores of Loch Lomond, where we were to celebrate Julie's birthday!

Briefly through Lancaster

Mel’s room was bursting (as usual) with “stuff” indicative of a large life confined to a small place. In addition to the prominent guitar, disco mixer and whirlwind of discarded clothes was a steadfast stack of revision material for Eng. Lit. juxtaposed with Orwellian extracts for the current play plus Walhol’s diaries and Edie Sedgwick pictures for the next project.

Blade Road – one way system, John, and thence northward to Scotland.

Thursday 26 May 2005

Northwich with a pinch of salt

Optimised travel with a logical but jarring stopover in a difficult to find hotel in salt capital Northwich far from the M6 and tricky to locate. Just don’t follow the Northwich signs for the hotel and you will be okay. Late arrival in a smelly room consuming milk and biscuits from a nearby petrol station. An early start the next day meant we could minimise the exposure and be swiftly on our way to our real stopover in Lancaster.

Tuesday 24 May 2005


Well I found Los Ramblas okay; it was a €1.15 trip from the hotel on the Linea 3. I had to walk down hill to the well fortified meeting square with Terry on a search mission to help me on the last few steps.

The rest had been in the same bar since 16:00 and now at 20:00 quite a few bottles of Rioja had already been demolished. I was still in the pristine state following a day of celibate client meetings. "Get me a glass" was amongst my first statements and soon enough the smoky red liquid was oiling the edges of my conversation.

Later stumbing to the natural seats for us at the Taxidermista, I spotted Terry's considerate venue related aside to Marilyn ensuring food we would all enjoy.

An evening of increasing beverage fatigue was easily offset by talk of the latest TV opportunity for Marilyn, of my rather suspect Anime Singularity from Christina Nott and of John's attempts to fathom Terry's strong Rosicrucian belief system. My summary of "I am what I am" was reposted with Terry's "Be yourself", but I sort of knew we were near to the same page.

Bottles later we hugged and split; Terry and Marilyn to their ideally centric locale; JLO, with me, to an optimally obscure location and then me alone to the posh place next to our event venue. As I toppled from the taxi at 02:30, Tom called, "Hey" as he was about to launch himself onward into the Spanish night.

Saturday 21 May 2005

Whole Wheat Radio

Whole Wheat Radio is an all volunteer, grassroots, labour-of-love webcasting radio station broadcasting on the Internet 24 hours/day, 365 days/year from a 12 x 12 plywood cabin in Talkeetna, Alaska. Unlike most other webcasts, Whole Wheat Radio is interactive.

They have been on-air for more than three years, and the "live" webcasting began in August, 2002 and currently support a maximum of 60 concurrent listeners.

They have excellent podcast downloads of programmes, live sets and individual tracks from artists. SInce starting they have played over 1,800,000 tunes that were actually heard by tuned-in listeners. Main genres are independent musicians including acoustic, folk, jazz, classical, bluegrass, singer-songwriter, swing, big-band, new-age, instrumental, blues, black-gospel, Alaskana, spoken word, and humor.

Whilst not "professional", the station is creative, personal, opinionated, artistic, honest, flawed, human, and real and doesn't . take itself too seriously. Their motto is "Changing Radio - One Listener At A Time."

As one person put it, "you're a small, unimportant webcast." They hope to keep it that way.

Monday 16 May 2005

Inside the Powerbook

Ever wondered what the inside of a Powerbook looked like? Wonder no more- Here's an x-ray!

(Via Boing Boing.)

New Weather for UK!

Originally uploaded by rashbre.
New Metra weather symbols for the BBC move away from the old 'tin cutout' style symbols of the last 20 years. And they have a funky globe logo too!globe_anim

Thursday 12 May 2005

Nearly Japan

Originally uploaded by rashbre.
So we all met at Benihana in Piccadilly to wish John G a Sayonara before he heads for Tokyo, It was a surprise to all of us that he travels on Saturday, although he doesn't pick up the visa until Friday. Slightly last minute.
A chatty evening with much flashing of knives by our showy chef. Next stop for John - Rappongi.

Wednesday 11 May 2005

Hoodies Ban from Shopping Mall

Originally uploaded by rashbre.
Bluewater Shopping Mall has banned hoodies. Will that limit their ability to show Star Wars? - The Sith may seek Revenge! {warning 7.5Mb to load this}

Tuesday 10 May 2005

555 Election Statistics

Vote050505:: " Vote050505: Election stats

1) 2005 election: votes cast

Lab 35%Con 32%LD 22%Oth
2) 2005 election: seats won
Lab 356Con 197LD 62Oth

3) The last 60 years of political power (plus the next 5)

4) Election turnout: average by decade

5) 2005 election: national support for each party
Lab 22%Con 20%LD 14%Othdid not vote 39%

See also: qwghlm's updated electoral map of Britain (cor, that was quick)"

(Via diamond geezer.)

Monday 9 May 2005

VE 60 in Moscow

Red Square Soldiers
More than 50 world leaders, including US President George W Bush, have been paying tribute in Moscow to the Soviet people's sacrifice in World War II. A mass parade took place in Red Square - the latest in a series of events in Europe marking 60 years since the Allied victory over Nazi Germany.

Despite the grey skies, Moscow's city centre was transformed into a sea of colour for the celebrations. They began with four soldiers marching across Red Square with the Soviet victory flag, to the sounds of a military band. Thousands of servicemen bearing Red Army standards followed. Fighter jets flew over the square streaming red, white and blue smoke, the colours of the Russian tricolour flag.
Red Square Planes
Addressing the crowds, Russia's President Vladimir Putin stressed the extent of the Soviet sacrifice to save the world from the Nazis. President Bush, the first US president to attend a Russian victory parade, earlier hailed the liberation from the Nazis, but said the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe that followed was "one of the greatest wrongs of history". More than 40 million people had lost their lives by the time World War II ended in Europe on 8 May 1945, including 27 million from the Soviet Union.

VE Day 8th May 2005 60 Year celebrations end

VE Vera Lynn
The concert ended with the Vera Lynn finale, sung by Katherine Jenkins and with showers of tiny paper blasted into the audience. We were about 20 people back from the front, had a great view and a fun experience, with a serious underlying recognition of the tough times experienced in the 1940s.

Katherine Jenkins sings at VE 60

VE Katherine Jenkins
Originally uploaded by rashbre.
Katherine jenkins, the Welsh opera singer, sang with big band accompaniment and then again at the end of the concert sand "We'll meet again" with Dame Vera Lynn also on stage.

Will Young at VE 60

VE will young
Originally uploaded by rashbre.
Will Young sang "The boogie woogie bugle boy of company B", and then "Love for sale". Like many of the singers, he stayed in keeping with the event, singing songs from the era.

Katie sings at VE 60 Celebrations

VE Melua
Originally uploaded by rashbre.
We drove to Kensington and then ambled through streets devoid of cars to Trafalgar Square for the VE 60 Party.

After a lone RAF Dakota flew over the square, Katie Melua sang "White Cliffs of Dover" to start the show.

Friday 6 May 2005

James, take a look

John's new house has some interesting architectural forms. DSCF0592
Should he keep the 'hole' through the ground floor between the two pieces, or is it acceptable to brick it in to add a downstairs study? and how should the first floor wood cladding be treated? Over to you, James...

655 = 36%

Tony Blair will face a full in-tray when he returns to his desk at No 10 Downing Street on Friday morning. Some key decisions which have been postponed because of the election will now have to be faced, with key reports on council tax and pensions due soon.And the process of deciding Labour's future spending plans will begin in earnest, with a slowdown in the growth of the public sector on the cards.

On Friday morning, Tony Blair outlined five key domestic priorities for the next Parliament: reform of the public services like health and education; further welfare reform to get more people back into work; pension reform; improvements to the immigration system; and tackling "disrespect" in the classroom and the community.

But his reduced majority means he may face difficulty from within his own party on many controversial issues.


The first few months of his third term, however, could well be dominated by foreign policy issues.

Britain is hosting the G8 Summit of world leaders in Glenagles, Scotland, at the beginning of July, and is planning to use the occasion to push for further movement on climate change and increased aid to tackle poverty in Africa - both issues on which the Prime Minister will face resistance from his close ally, President Bush.

And Britain will also assume the presidency of the European Union on 1 July, taking the lead on key negotiations for six months.

Among the most sensitive issues could well be the future of the European Constitution, unless the French reject it in their referendum on 29 May, which could throw the whole EU into crisis (with Britain in charge of sorting it out).

The government has pledged to call a UK referendum and ask the British public to support it whatever the outcome of the French referendum.

Given the widespread public scepticism about the EU constitution, if the government wants to win that referendum, which is widely expected to take place in the spring of 2006, the campaign would have to begin soon.

And finally, the issue of Iran's nuclear weapons could come to a head sooner rather than later, within Britain a key member of the group of EU countries that is trying to persuade Iran to abandon nuclear reprocessing.

Thursday 5 May 2005

555 Election Special from Five

Islington South - 5/5/5 Deek Deekster

Finsbury - 5/5/5 Deek Deekster
Warm Spring Day Sees London Voter Turnout Up Voter turnout in the densely populated urban consituency of Islington South and Finsbury, is so far up on the last general election in 2001, said Labour and LibDem workers outside the local school turned Polling station in Laycock Street, near Highbury Corner, London, this afternoon.

Both estimated a rise of between 2% and 3%, which suggests that the many predictions of low turnout could be wide of the mark. It has yet to be seen if this is localised. Weather conditions are favouring the south, north London experiencing pleasant sunny spells and occasional showers, while the north is experiencing damper conditions.

Ditto BNN

555 - election special - exit polls

It's illegal to announce exit polls before polling closes as they can impact on voter turnout. The popular view seems to be a 40 seat Labour majority. Exit polls have been wrong before - the US Presidential is a classic example. Not sure about this photomontgage of Tony...


The spread betting pre 22:00 is interesting with most going for a Labour majority between the high 80's and 90's. Higher than the exit poll.

Sunderland South is likely to be the first counted, with a 49.9% turnout. Predicted overall turnout is 65%, somewhat higher than the last time.

555 Election Party Pack

BBC party-pack for tonight's UK election results: blairmaskMeg says, 'While checking up on the BBC's timeline for tonight's General Election announcements, I stumbled across their Election 2005 party pack, with bingo, sweepstakes and the scariest PDF file known to mankind containing masks of the three main party leaders.
(Thanks, Meg!)

(Via Boing Boing.)

Wednesday 4 May 2005

555 Election Monster Raving Looney

Official Monster Raving Loony Party Leads The Way On Votes At 16
There was widespread call today for votes at 16. The only UK party to have this policy in their manifesto is the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, and as Andy "The Hat" Gardener explains here, all their best policies get pinched. Abolition of the dog license, passports for pets...

"The UK's 1.5m 16 and 17-year-olds would become further alienated from the democratic process if they continued to be excluded from voting, claimed the Votes at 16 coalition. The group said that if people at 16 were able to leave home, get a full-time job, pay taxes, raise children and join the armed forces they should also be able to vote. 'They have considerable responsibilities...but adult society does not consider them responsible enough to vote' Louise King, Children's Rights Alliance
Lowering the voting age could also help to reinvigorate the youth vote by forcing MPs to take an active interest in the issues that concern young people, they said.

The group - which also includes the Children's Rights Alliance for England, British Youth Council and Children's Parliament in Scotland - have written to the party leaders, asking them to promise to extend the franchise.

The letter urged them to "demonstrate their faith in and respect for younger citizens by working to ensure that 16 and 17 year-olds are no longer unnecessarily denied a stake in their democracy". Louise King, of the Children's Rights Alliance, said: "At 16 and 17, young people's lives are as rich and varied as at any other age. " - BBC

ADSL Router failure

No Postings today - the little white Netgear DG850GT box expired in a puff of smoke. Time for a cocktail instead.

Tuesday 3 May 2005

Commuting to London

SouthWest train
Treo 650 phone photos uploaded by rashbre.
The London commuting rule of full trains applied today. A full fare inbound train of four carriages, with standing room only.

The off-peak return was an almosty empty 12 car train.
Photo_050305_001 carriage

my other car

Bumper sticker: "My other car is a Pynchon novel": "Xeni Jardin:
Available from the Cat and Girl comic's online store, along with gothic script t-shirts that say, 'Capitalists do it Ruthlessly.' Link (via Bruce Sterling)

(Via Boing Boing.)

That's a big telly

The SuperScreen Outdoor Theater System: "The SuperScreen Outdoor Theater System

It’s official: we’re having an Engadget Pool Party this summer. Not sure whose house it’s going to be at, but we’re going to have to figure something out right quick now that we’ve stumbled upon the SuperScreen Outdoor Theater System, a 13-foot by 16-foot inflatable screen that includes a portable DVD player, dual 15-inch speakers, and a DLP projector. So basically we’re going to need to borrow somebody’s pool for the afternoon. And also ten thousand dollars. [Via bookofjoe] and (Via Engadget.)

Monday 2 May 2005

a nice cuppa tea

Now add milk...
Originally uploaded by Feed The Birds.

Software Tracks Tea-Making Duties: "In Britain, an unwritten law says anyone making tea must also brew a cuppa for co-workers. Naturally, most would rather die of thirst than make a dozen cups of tea. New software tracks who's on top of tea duties. By Robert Andrews."

(Via Wired News.)

Living Zen

Originally uploaded by rashbre.

Living Zen: "

My friend sent me a photography link yesterday that I decided to pass along. Photojournalist Androniki Christodoulou has several exhibits online at her site, but I was particularly struck by her peek inside the Hoshinji monastery of Soto Zen Buddhism in Obama.
Living Zen - JAPAN

Beautiful photos. I can't say I know much about Zazen or Buddhism, but the peace and calm and order and discipline is fascinating.

(Via Metroblogging Tokyo.)

Living in Paper

Living in paper is a way to make housing from discarded paper waste.

(Via Evolve Happy.)

Basingstoke's flying car

On wednesday, a car flew from the A30 into the top floor of a house in Basingstoke, Hants, England and dropped back to the ground. The driver and passenger were seriously injured but are in stable condition. Police say the car hit a curb and 'launched through the air.' There is now an investigation looking for some other 'hot hatch' cars which were seen in the vicinity at a similar time.

 Media Images 41086000 Jpg  41086775 Carinhouse203Joyce Harman told BBC News how she and her husband Joe were woken by the crash. 'It was just horrendous,' she said.'My husband thought the dog had knocked something over downstairs but as he got to the bedroom door he could see the hole in the wall and all the furniture moved.'That's when we came downstairs and saw the car there.'

The story made frontpage in the Gazette.
And good coverage on the BBC.

Anime Fair 2005

Photos from the Tokyo Anime Fair 2005:Xeni Jardin:Tamu of FPS Magazine says:

My co-workers from Toon Boom Animation went to the Tokyo International Anime Fair (TAF). While there, Steven took these fun photos around TAF 2005 and gave fps permission to put them up on the site. Check out the 3D sculpture of Hayao Miyazaki's (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) Howl's Moving Castle (adapted from the Diana Wynne-Jones book) at the Studio Ghibli booth.
Link to photos by Stephen Chu.

(Via Boing Boing.)

Time travellers have been here before

MIT students are holding a Time Traveler Convention next Saturday in the hope that some visitors from the future might show up.
Great idea! I'd love to help! What should I do?
Write details of the time traveller convention with dates on a piece of acid-free paper, and slip into obscure books in academic libraries where they can be found in the distant future! Carve them into a clay tablet! If you write for a newspaper, insert a few details about the convention! Tell your friends, so that word of the convention will be preserved in our oral history! A note: Time travel is a hard problem, and it may not be invented until long after MIT has faded into oblivion. Thus, we ask that you include the latitude/longitude information when you publicize the convention.
You can also make an absolute commitment to publicize the convention afterwards. In that case, bring a time capsule or whatever it may be to the party, and then bury it afterwards.
Can't the time travelers just hear about it from the attendees, and travel back in time to attend?
Yes, they can! In fact, we think this will happen, and the small number of adventurous time travelers who do attend will go back to their 'home times' and tell all their friends to come, causing the convention to become a Woodstock-like event that defines humanity forever.

Sunday 1 May 2005

Moleskine - the Whiteberry

Each page of the new
Moleskine Storyboard notebook consists of a sequence of storyboard frames for drawing mini-stories. The first half of the book has two frames per page — the last half has four frames per page along the left side, with room to write text to the right of each frame. A great productivity tool to help create graphic and narrative depictions.

In all other respects, the Moleskine Story Board Notebook includes all the Moleskine features you’ve come to expect and enjoy. Each Moleskine journal has a rigid, durable oilcloth bound ‘moleskine’ cover and sturdy thread bound binding with fine Italian acid-free paper pages. Moleskine journals also have a built-in elastic closure that holds the sturdy cover closed when not in use, a black ribbon placeholder, and an expandable accordion pocket in the back made of cardboard and oilcloth for holding tickets, notes and clippings. Moleskine journals are made in Italy. Size: 3.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches (9 cm x 14 cm x 1.25 cm); Pages: 192 story board pages (96 leaves). BUY Moleskine Movie Storyboard Notebook at Amazon.com. Your purchase through this link supports Cinema Minima.


Before wiki there was the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams devised the site long before the movie and nowadays you can see entries about all of it.


Wikipedia has a superb page that charts the number of wikipedians, articles, edits, links etc. per month dating back to the start.

Next American Idol

If I were a record producer, I would be crawling over The Hype Machine. The site is an experiment that aggregates songs posted on MP3 blogs and presents them in an organized interface.

(Via Micro Persuasion.)


A remote, mountainous region in northern Gifu Prefecture, Shirakawa-go is famous for its old farmhouses, which were added to the list of
UNESCO world heritage sites
in 1995.

The farm houses are built in an architecture style called gasshozukuri, as the houses' steep roofs resemble two hands folded for a prayer. The massive construction is required for the houses to withstand the large amounts of snow falling in the region during winter.

Shirakawa-go makes a good day trip from Takayama or a stop over on the bus journey between Takayama and Kanazawa. If time permits, an overnight stay at one of the farmhouses, many of which now serve as minshuku, is strongly recommended.

link-of-the-day: Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites

(Via of cherry blossoms and samurais ....)

Draw a Pig

Draw a Pig - test your personality
Fun fun link. heeee, go try!
And do make a guess which pig from the above is mine

(Via of cherry blossoms and samurais ....)


Yesterday I spoke to my friend Nicole from Germany on the phone and at one point she mentioned Schnappi das Krokodil
(Schnappi the Crocodile). It's funny cos recently I've come across Schnappi's name quite a few times when reading German newspapers on the internet but I never knew who he (she?) was. Well, it has turned out that there is a childrens' song about Schnappi which has been on top of the German music charts for several weeks. Apparently, the little crocodile has become quite a media phenomenon. Not in Britain though...

This made me realize that - despite of all the emails, phone calls and online newspapers - I'm slowly losing track of what's going on in everyday life in Germany...

(Via Beans on toast.)

Keep watching the skies

The object first appeared on the radar screens at Reagan National Airport at 10:40 on Wednesday morning, and looked to be only 20 miles from DC. By 10:55, President Bush was 'in an underground bunker at the White House and Vice President Cheney was escorted off the White House grounds to a secure location,' the first time since the 9/11 attacks that such measures had been taken. Additionally, 'armed, uniformed Secret Service officers took position around the executive mansion.'

The object continued 'moving through restricted airspace at about the speed of a helicopter,' and all major security-related agencies were quickly alerted via the Domestic Events Network. For a time, the object dropped off the radar screens. Suddenly it appeared again, this time only seven miles away, 'stirring serious concern among Customs and Border Protection officials.' Three different agencies dispatched helicopters to the scene.

What did they find? This.

My own private Tokyo - William Gibson

I wish I had a thousand-yen note for every journalist who, over the past decade, has asked me whether Japan is still as futurologically sexy as it seemed to be in the '80s. If I did, I'd take one of these spotlessly lace-upholstered taxis over to the Ginza and buy my wife a small box of the most expensive Belgian chocolates in the universe.

I'm back to Tokyo tonight to refresh my sense of place, check out the post-Bubble city, professionally resharpen that handy Japanese edge. If you believe, as I do, that all cultural change is essentially technology-driven, you pay attention to Japan. There are reasons for that, and they run deep.

Dining late, in a plastic-draped gypsy noodle stall in Shinjuku, the classic cliché better-than-Blade Runner Tokyo street set, I scope my neighbor's phone as he checks his text messages. Wafer-thin, Kandy Kolor pearlescent white, complexly curvilinear, totally ephemeral looking, its screen seethes with a miniature version of Shinjuku's neon light show. He's got the rosary-like anticancer charm attached; most people here do, believing it deflects microwaves, grounding them away from the brain. It looks great, in terms of a novelist's need for props, but it may not actually be that next-generation in terms of what I'm used to back home.

Tokyo has been my handiest prop shop for as long as I've been writing: sheer eye candy. You can see more chronological strata of futuristic design in a Tokyo streetscape than anywhere else in the world. Like successive layers of Tomorrowlands, older ones showing through when the newer ones start to peel.

The world's second-richest economy, after a decade of stagflation, still looks like the world's richest place, but the global lea lines of money and hustle have invisibly realigned. It feels to me as though all that crazy momentum has finally arrived.
So the pearlescent phone with the cancer thingy gets drafted straight into props, but what about Japan itself? The Bubble's gone, successive economic plans sputter and wobble to the same halt, one political scandal follows another ... Is that the future?

Yes. Part of it, and not necessarily ours, but definitely yes. The Japanese love "futuristic" things precisely because they've been living in the future for such a very long time now. History, that other form of speculative fiction, explains why.
The Japanese, you see, have been repeatedly drop-kicked, ever further down the timeline, by serial national traumata of quite unthinkable weirdness, by 150 years of deep, almost constant, change. The 20th century, for Japan, was like a ride on a rocket sled, with successive bundles of fuel igniting spontaneously, one after another.

They have had one strange ride, the Japanese, and we tend to forget that.

In 1854, with Commodore Perry's second landing, gunboat diplomacy ended 200 years of self-imposed isolation, a deliberate stretching out of the feudal dreamtime. The Japanese knew that America, not to be denied, had come knocking with the future in its hip pocket. This was the quintessential cargo-cult moment for Japan: the arrival of alien tech.
The people who ran Japan - the emperor, the lords and ladies of his court, the nobles, and the very wealthy - were entranced. It must have seemed as though these visitors emerged from some rip in the fabric of reality. Imagine the Roswell Incident as a trade mission, a successful one; imagine us buying all the Gray technology we could afford, no reverse engineering required. This was a cargo cult where the cargo actually did what it claimed to do.

They must all have gone briefly but thoroughly mad, then pulled it together somehow and plunged on. The Industrial Revolution came whole, in kit form: steamships, railroads, telegraphy, factories, Western medicine, the division of labor - not to mention a mechanized military and the political will to use it. Then those Americans returned to whack Asia's first industrial society with the light of a thousand suns - twice, and very hard - and thus the War ended.At which point the aliens arrived in force, this time with briefcases and plans, bent on a cultural retrofit from the scorched earth up. Certain central aspects of the feudal-industrial core were left intact, while other areas of the nation's political and business culture were heavily grafted with American tissue, resulting in hybrid forms ...

Here in my Akasaka hotel, I can't sleep. I get dressed and walk to Roppongi, through a not-unpleasantly humid night in the shadows of an exhaust-stained mulilevel expressway that feels like the oldest thing in town. Roppongi is an interzone, the land of gaijin bars, always up late. I'm waiting at a pedestrian crossing when I see her. She's probably Australian, young and quite serviceably beautiful. She wears very expensive, very sheer black undergarments, and little else, save for some black outer layer - equally sheer, skintight, and microshort - and some gold and diamonds to give potential clients the right idea. She steps past me, into four lanes of traffic, conversing on her phone in urgent Japanese. Traffic halts obediently for this triumphantly jaywalking gaijin in her black suede spikes. I watch her make the opposite curb, the brain-cancer deflector on her slender little phone swaying in counterpoint to her hips. When the light changes, I cross, and watch her high-five a bouncer who looks like Oddjob in a Paul Smith suit, his skinny lip beard razored with micrometer precision. There's a flash of white as their palms meet. Folded paper. Junkie origami.

This ghost of the Bubble, this reminder of Tokyo from when it was the lodestar for every hustler on the face of the planet, strolls on and then ducks into a doorway near the Sugar Heel Bondage Bar. I last came here right on the cusp of that era, just before the downturn, when her kind were legion. She's old-school, this girl: fin de siècle Tokyo decadence. A nostalgia piece.

(c) Copyright William Gibson / Wired

That Pepsi Girl

The KROQ interview!: After playing the superbowl break, that Pepsi Girl has a fun fansite and following.

To hear an interview with her and a written recap of the show over at the Kevin and Bean blog.
Mandy Amano, Pepsi iTunes Babe - The smoking hot actress, and the new object of geek obsession talked about the Super Bowl commercial that launched her to stardom: she didn't even know what the product was when she went to the shoot! It was kept secret with confidentiality agreements, etc... Ralph: 'With that kind of security you'd think it's for Uranium or something!'  Shot around christmas, she watched it premeiere live at a party with a bunch of suprised burly guys during the game. About the stalker fan's blog devoted to her, 'It was creepy at first, but it's all G rated so far!'  Yes, she's already shot her Maxim pictures, for the May issue, in a lacy bikini. Woohoo!  (Ralph: 'Lacy Bikini, by the way, used to be my stripper name!') AND she's a comic book geek, too! 

Obsessed fan and blog creator Justin then came on the phone! Mandy: 'I don't know whether to hug you or slap you!' Why did he decide to devote himself to her and create the blog? 'I didn't have anything else better to do!' He's in college in Michigan. Ralph: 'Do you major in Stalking?' Yes, he'll be getting the Maxim issue: 'One to frame, and one to...you know.'  Ugh! Bean: 'To read, to read! I didn't like the sound of that at ALL!' Mandy: 'You've been very sweet.' Bean: 'And 'sweet' is Japanese for creepy, right?' Ralph: 'You're career's going to blow off, and we'll be like, 'Rembmer when we first had Mandy in? Now she's had that series, nominated for an Oscar twice, now she's been in rehab twice, killed that guy...we're look forward to your scandal-filled career!'

(Via That Pepsi Girl.)

English Midlands Film Interview Podcast

Podcast: Mark Jeavons, Matt Cope talk about filmmaking in the West Midlands of England: "

BY JOE JABBAR. BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND (CINEMA MINIMA) — Podcast on Thursday, April 28th, 2005. Wolverhampton, in the English Midlands, is home to a small but enthusiastic community of digital filmmakers. With some help from local funding agencies, one of this band of intrepid filmmakers is boldly going where no 24-year-old Wolverhampton-based filmmaker has been before.

Program Notes

A (slightly noisy) interview with Cannes-bound Mark Jeavons, the writer-director of low-budget feature THE BOY WITH A THORN IN HIS SIDE, and documentary maker Matt Cope, the director of PEOPLE TO CONTACT IN THE MIDLANDS WHEN YOU’RE DEAD, about filmmaking in the West Midlands.


Direct Download

Cinema Minima Podcast RSS feed

(Via Cinema Minima.)

Cannes Film Guide

Cannes: A Festival Virgin's Guide

Each year in May, over 200,000 people from across the globe descend on the small Riviera resort of Cannes to take part in all of the glitz and glamour that is the Cannes Film Festival. The mere mention of the city instantly conjures up images of red carpets, paparazzi camera flashes, and celebrity parties.

However, the Festival is an essential calendar date for many people for another reason: the largest film market and industry get-together on the planet takes place at the same time.

For filmmakers, Cannes is about doing deals, networking, selling films (as well as yourself), and generally working very hard to stay on top of 12 days of intense film business. Perhaps it is the fact that the event takes place in France, or maybe it is simply part and parcel of the world’s most famous film festival, but first-time visitors to Cannes can often find it all a bit overwhelming.

Cannes: A Festival Virgin’s Guide is the leading handbook for filmmakers looking to attend the festival, and to do so on a shoe-string budget. Demystifying the event and providing practical advice for attending, Cannes: A Festival Virgin’s Guide is about helping you make the most of your visit to the world’s most famous film festival, and hopefully come out with your wallet intact. Features include:
  • The City: getting there, getting around, places to stay, places to eat, and more;
  • The Festival: its history, structure, how to attend, and all about the screenings;
  • The Biz: an overview of the business side of the festival, for filmmakers looking to attend Cannes for networking or with a project in tow;
  • The Lowdown: a series of interviews with Cannes veterans, offering their advice and tips;
  • Five appendices containing a wealth of contact information, and other useful information.
[Cannes: A Festival Virgin’s Guide]

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(Via Cinema Minima.)

UK Vote 050505

Vote050505: X press
I saw the following information in a table in a newspaper earlier in the week, and I decided it would look much better reorganised into a graph. So here it is as a graph, and a fascinating graph it makes too. Any thoughts?

How newspaper readers voted in 2001
MIRRORLab 71%Lib 13%OthCon 11%
STARLab 56%Lib 17%OthCon 21%
SUNLab 52%Lib 11%OthCon 29%
GUARDIANLab 52%Lib 34%OthCon
INDEPENDENTLab 38%Lib 44%OthCon 12%
Lab 33%Lib 19%OthCon 43%EXPRESS
Lab 30%Lib 21% Con 48%FT
Lab 28%Lib 26%OthCon 40%TIMES
Lab 24%Lib 17%OthCon 55%MAIL
Lab 16%Lib 14%OthCon 65%TELEGRAPH

(Via diamond geezer.)