Sunday, January 18, 2004

Radio 2: Tabloid. Discuss.

Isn't it nice when you get stuck listening to someone else's choice of radio station. Especially when said choice: A. Plays some mediocre and some abysmal old stuff, and then adds the worst of modern music. B. Is trying to save on fees, and so has huge gaps between the music filled with mindless wittering (talk IS cheap). C. The talk begins to make the Daily Mail sound like the moderate voice of reason. D. Dim co-workers then add to the happy atmosphere by muttering half sentences in agreement.

Not impressed. Though it's quite funny when the people phoning in don't agree with the presenter and he starts sounding a little bit put out (how dare they be rational, liberal or tolerant?).

And why do Home Secretaries think they have a god given right to adapt the concept of justice to their own means? If you want to change something, write a bill, stick it through parliament, and then see how the various courts accept or amend it. Do not attempt to surf a wave of unthinking opinions, and pander to what you feel to be popular to gain support. Ok, so it's politics, so that'll always happen, but picking individual cases is a bit too unseemly. If you want to change part of sentencing or the law, use the appropriate methods, do not just override everything. And if the target of your campaign escapes, because laws do not apply retrospectively, tough. You cannot (or should not) change the rules because you feel like it.

Blunkett: a curious mixture of blunder and fuckwit.

Sorry, there's just various stories doing the rounds about the effects of this guy becoming ever more right-wing and rabid (is he lining himself up to become the next pope?).

It doesn't help that he's being to make some of his predecessors look comparatively sane. Which given the previous incumbents, of the role of Home Secretary, isn't really a good thing.

And now on with the woohooing.
The government sanctioned woohooing.
Except you can tell their hearts aren't really in it.
London launches Olympic bid.
They've got a pretty logo and everything. And it's really cunning cos they've taken the river Thames, right, and made it out of the 5 Olympic colours[1], and woven it through the word London. It's dead cool.

[1] In a sub-Bridget Riley way.

Looking at their website - oh dear. Isn't that a wonderful picture of Our Dear Leader? My cheeks hurt just looking at it. He can't even keep his eyes open as he does it. Nice to know he can fake sincerity so well. And then you have ODL's new best friend - he of the "oh god, not again, does no-one ever listen to me? I don't know why I bother sometimes, I really don't" face, Mr Ken Livingston.

Jan 16: London today unveiled its a star-studded event.
Prime Minister Tony Blair was among 300 Olympians, politicians, business leaders and Londoners...

Star studded? Under which section are they filing the stars? Olympians, politicians, business leaders or Londoners?

And what am I supposed to make of the Leap for London images - in particular the woman doing the high jump over the London Eye. London - The highest breasts in Europe? London - Firm uplifting support? It doesn't help that without any other reference point the London Eye looks suspiciously like a bicycle wheel, and so the image seems to suggest what will happen to anyone trying to do a triathlon in London traffic.

Actually on their front-page, it could be that Eros in the picture on the left (why?) was trying to assassinate Tony Blair on the right (it's where he feels comfortable), but this poor athlete got in the way, and now lies slain having tumbled down the page.

It gets worse. They cite Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Minogue, combined with the force that is Sainsbury's as reasons to be chosen to host a sports event. I have a hunch not all that many people have heard of Sainsbury's.

London is alive with the sound of music. Is that not still under copyright? And isn't it a little too cliched?

The first truly great English artist, William Hogarth, provided a savage commentary on a gin-soaked London scene which balanced violence with elegance to bequeath posterity Kew Gardens, the British Museum and the ritual of the Changing of the Guard. Er...what was that again?
They are assuming that no-one will actually read this, aren't they? And anyone scanning it will pick up: ...great English...Hogarth...blah,blah,blah...Kew...British Museum...Changing of the Guard.

Going through more of the site, and it becomes apparent that they really need a good editor. They have actual blurb, the sort of stuff that the summarise option in MS Word churns out, but with worse grammar. Are they relying on the IOC judges to assume it's their own poor English that renders some sentences meaningless, and large amounts of the rest as meandering waffle?
Even most of the graphics are meaningless.

So, what does the rest of the world make of this?
The BBC has [slightly bitchy] reports about the launches of the various hopefuls. They also do a better job of explaining the London bid than the London bid's website.

CNN's stunning scientific poll puts New York ahead (strange that for an American news company), with London and Paris equal second.

[Hmm, it might have helped if I'd stuck then links in as I wrote it, rather than deciding to do them later, later being a day later and so I can't get to any of them].

So who will win?

How am I supposed to know? Depends how political the Olympics are.

There's the whole Iraq thing for starters. Which lowers London's and New York's chances with much of the world. And America has had one recently (that got bombed) But then France mightily pissed off other parts of the world, so that's Paris in trouble. And there are the effects of its actions with and within the EU. Moscow, maybe assuming they can get round the bribery and extortion, and the fact it's Russia. Istanbul: Kaboom? (or is that in poor taste?). Madrid: but you just had one (Barcelona, what a beautiful horizon). Leipzig: I didn't know they'd entered. Somewhere near Poland isn't it? Havana: Somehow I can't imagine the Olympics in place of Saga and Glenfiddich adverts. Which leaves Rio.

Well at least the much publicised Beach Volleyball would be on a beach (as opposed to a desolate parade ground, or under a big broadcasting aerial). Ok so yeah, maybe the athletes might get murdered or mugged, and the gold medals would probably be nicked and melted down before the marathon runners had even finished, but that just makes it more

The two leaders are rumoured to be Paris and London, but Paris has better transport, and well it's Paris. It's never going to get null points (damn, the French and English for points are written the same). And London doesn't have the transport, it perpetually seems to irk the rest of the country by being London-centric (well, it is the biggest city and the capital and all), and maybe tainted by association with current politics.

Working back (to the ones I remember) we have Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, next is Athens, then it's Beijing. My guess is Paris next, then on to some South American or Africa city. When was the last time South Africa got one? Which would mean it's the northern hemisphere's dibs for the next go, which would be London versus some American or Canadian city.

Going through the IOC's website on all the contestants (largely to try and find out who the rest are), I discover that the Havana bid doesn't even have website. Good omen.

And that for some reason websites written in English use words to indicate that other language versions are available (eg. Francais, but I can't do the under-c squiggle), whereas most of the foreign language ones use flags. Which is a little strange when one considers what portion of English speakers actually live in the country denoted by that little collection of superimposed crosses.

There was other stuff, only I've forgotten what it was. Why does trying to write a blog require more reading than writing?.

And that'll teach me not to click on the recently published list on Blogger's FP. Some deluded person has managed to set her blog up so that it blasts out Girls Aloud at all who venture too near. Not nice. Not nice at all.

Speaking of music (of sorts). Am I old? As I keep hearing songs by various groups and thinking that I like them (not that this would make me old, it's just my poor writing that implies it, so bear with me here). For example Snow Patrol (how long have they been around now?), Jet, Delays, Keane, Obi (Confused me for quite a while when I originally heard Moby), the Von Bondies, to name the ones whose names I can remember. Only when I hear them I think "I like that, it sounds like Ash, or Embrace, or Cast (or someone of that ilk)". Which probably means I am quite old, to think it sounds like a band a couple of cycles ago (but not old enough to think that those bands were derivative anyway).

But then there always was the bands being the new whoever (even if it didn't fit), such as Muse the new Coldplay[2], Coldplay the new Travis, Travis the new whoever.

[2] Well once upon a time they were described thus, back when the lead singer had floppy hair and gawky nervousness.

Oh, and in searching for the answer to Gridlock level 38 (well someone else found my blog by searching for that, so I just carried on his search), I found this, which is even crueller, as I can't even do the first one.

[Edit: done it. Oh, they're all easy once you find the formula. Except the last one where you have to avoid squares].

But I did figure out the card trick that's been confusing Casino Avenue. Unfortunately the first time I twigged was when I professional magician was doing it (strangely saying loudly "but that card wasn't there", doesn't go down too well with magicians entertaining crowds).

Hmm, and the great god Google must be annoyed by me mentioning my ranking, as it just slumped. Oh well, at least MSN still likes me.

And technorati's broken. What is going on today?

I've just realised how long this post is - blame Blogger's kaput draft function, it means I can't do it a little at a time - so I'd better stop now.


PS. Isn't it strange how quotes from films diverge from the original? Guess who watched the incredibly rubbishy Robin Hood Prince of Thieves[3] yesterday. Cue: I'll cut his heart out with a spoon! Why? Because it's duller you fool. So what if the film only featured the words spoon and dull? It's the interpretation that makes it what it is. And it's a bad film anyway, so misquoting it isn't going to malign it much. Although I noticed yesterday that there is a worrying number of the lyrics to the theme song that turn up in the film. I feel I ought to point out that I only know the lyrics as I had to learn to play something on guitar for school, and Everything I Do is pretty easy (DAGA DAG DA).

[3] Insert comments about people landing at Dover, going to Nottingham via Hadrian's wall all before nightfall. Add further comments on the curiously frequent placement of haystacks. Not to mention the Ewok village. And this is glossing over the historical accuracy, the script, the plot, the acting, the obvious poster shots. Oh and Alan Rickman's blue rinse. So many faults, it's near pedantic nirvana.

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