25 February 2006

There is something beautiful about Paris Hilton shouting the words "American idiot"

Read Dorian Lynskey's entertaining blog of the Brit Awards, which were held on 15 February in London.

'James Blunt plays ... wait for it! ... You're Beautiful. I don't have a view on this song any more. It just is, like the weather. Or flu'

Culture vulture

Age and guile beats youth and inexperience, again

From an article about telegrams:

'Western Union charged by the word, turning the loquacious terse, and sometimes ambiguous. A reporter asked the actor Cary Grant about his age:


The actor supposedly replied:


- New York Times, 12 February 2006

News: phones 500 times dirtier than toilet seats

'A University of Arizona microbiology team tested a dozen office surfaces including the bathroom. The scientists found that phone receivers had 25,000 bacteria per square inch, while toilet seats had only 49 bacteria per square inch'

Ask Yahoo

19 February 2006

How to make Garfield actually funny

It appears the only way is to remove his thought bubbles. Have a look at these attempts from back in 2003. Much more like a real cat now, isn't he.

Garfield sans thought bubbles

18 February 2006

Someone should undercut him: £20 a word is a much better deal

Psst, wanna buy a word of art?
by Dalya Alberge

HERE’S the deal: a man will whisper a word in your ear and you will become the proud owner of a work of art; a limited edition at that. This is the art of Tino Sehgal. You buy a single word for £25, selected by the artist, which the manager of the shop at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London conveys to you in a whisper. As always, collectors are advised to beware of forgeries — about which there has been more than a whisper in art circles — but such is this artist’s following that five people have parted with £25 since the show opened this month.

Word is that the Tate has also bought one of his works, This is Propaganda, which will be performed next month.

When a visitor walks into the room, a woman dressed as a gallery assistant will turn to the wall and sing, “this is propaganda, you know, you know” twice. The Tate declined to reveal what it paid, but it is believed to be a five-figure sum.

Sehgal, 30, a Londoner who lives in Berlin, does not create tangible objects. At the Venice Biennale last year, a group of gallery assistants surrounded each visitor and chanted, “this is so contemporary, contemporary, contemporary”, in an otherwise empty room.

The artist works with “interpreters”, including museum guards, to create art that challenges “traditional museological contexts”. Last year, he put on a show at the ICA — once described as one of the greatest ideas laboratories in London — which involved an “interpreter” writhing on the floor every day for six weeks.

His latest exhibition at the ICA, which runs until March 19, explores the “progression of life”. Each visitor is met by a child, who guides them into an empty room before asking, “what is progress?”. The visitor is then handed over to a teenager, who takes them through the non-public areas of the building into another empty exhibition space. They are met by a middle-aged interpreter, who passes them on to an elderly interpreter, who leads them back to where they started.

The artist said: “I am interested in creating products, but by rethinking the notion of a product as a transformation of actions, rather than as a transformation of material.”

This was not “performance art”, he said, but “constructive situations that happen to you”.

The Times, 15 February 2006

He must've had a lot to drink beforehand

"Joe Cole had a slash on the edge of the box and it actually found its way back to the corner flag. "

COLIN COOPER, Radio Five Live

16 February 2006

Music Videos of the 80s

Captain Video remembers a time when major music consortia permitted people as untelegenic as Kenny Loggins and Peter Cetera to appear in music videos. And Survivor! Ye gods. Take a look at the Captain's frame-by-frame analysis - for shame, Bobby Brown!

CAPTAIN VIDEO!: Music Videos of the 1980s

15 February 2006

Gremliny Rozrablaja!

(Otherwise known as 'Gremlins'). If there's anything that could convince me to rent timeless classics like Benji: The Hunted, it's got to be this collection of impressively bizarre Polish movie posters for western films. Generally the poster art is far superior to the film! I hope the Poles didn't get an over-inflated impression of the quality of our theatre fodder...

Polish posters

[Courtesy of Alpen]

The importance of a sense of perspective

"When the Roman empire split in two, it became the talk of the classical world. It was all the work of the emperor Theodosius, who created the empires of the east and west in 395AD. Much the same controversy was aroused when the rock band Yes split in twain many centuries later"

CHRIS WELCH, Sleeve notes to the album 'Talk' by Yes

04 February 2006

Airborne Cats

Happy leapy furry catty meow-y fun! A bunch of Junku's cats having a good old jump.

airborne cats - a photoset on Flickr

02 February 2006

So they don't make aircraft seatbelts for dogs, then

Some plonkers decide to do a loop in their plane, but forget about their wee brown dog in the back seat. He doesn't look too alarmed though, as he floats around the cabin in zero-g. Perhaps he comes from a long line of dog astronauts. (Well, I suppose he could be related to Laika, couldn't he?)

Floating dog

[n.b. 1MB WMV download - your work computer might not let you view it]

The 10 worst songs of all time

1. The Birdie Song - The Tweets
2. Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh! - The Teletubbies
3. Barbie Girl - Aqua
4. Agadoo - Black Lace
5. I Should Be So Lucky - Kylie Minogue
6. We're Going To Ibiza - Vengaboys
7. Grandma We Love You - St Winifred's School Choir
8. Shaddup You Face - Joe Dolce
9. Achy Breaky Heart - Billy Ray Cyrus
10. The Lady In Red - Chris De Burgh

- Dotmusic.com readers

How to have a number one hit (the easy way)

Paraphrased from the KLF's famous tome, The Manual: How To Have A Number One Hit (The Easy Way), here's how to make your very own chart-storming hit record, in 100 words or less:

'[The song must] have a dance groove that will run all the way through the record and that the current record buying generation will find irresistible. Secondly, it must be no longer than three minutes thirty seconds [or] DJs will start fading early or talking over the end, when the chorus is finally being hammered home - the most important part of any record. Thirdly, it must consist of an intro, a verse, a chorus, second verse, a second chorus, a breakdown section, back into a doubke length chorus, and outro. Fourthly, lyrics. You will need some, but not many'

- Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty

[a.k.a. the KLF, who had five UK singles, all of which reached the top 5. 3AM Eternal reached number 1]

Oh, had we mentioned we've been smoking dope?

Zimbabwe's 'naked twins' swap loincloths for freedom

HARARE, Zimbabwe - Zimbabwean twins jailed last week for walking around in goatskin loincloths were released from remand prison after promising to "dress properly," a state daily reported. The twins left Harare central remand prison on Tuesday clad in shorts and shirts after the Harare magistrate's court ruled that they either dress properly or remain in custody.

Tapiwanashe and Tafadzwanashe Fichani, 22, were arrested on Wednesday last week while walking around in at a busy shopping centre in a posh Harare suburb while claiming to be divine messengers preaching about creation.

They were then brought before the magistrate's court for "appearing in a public place without wearing such articles of clothing as decency, custom and circumstance require."

Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe remanded them in custody and ordered a psychiatric examination. Their lawyer told a local newspaper the results of the examination showed the twins were sane.

The twins claimed they received a divine order to shed conventional apparel for goatskin flaps and abandon the comfort of their family home in an expensive area to sleep in a chicken run.

The twins, who also admitted smoking marijuana, said they were on a mission to preach about creation. They were first arrested two weeks ago but they were set free after paying a fine.

AFP, 1 February 2006

Surely the distinctive headgear counted for something?

Students in Tutus Saved From Mountain Road

PASADENA, Calif. - Two dozen Caltech students wearing Superman capes, tutus and other odd attire as part of a hazing stunt were rescued after getting stranded on the Mount Wilson Toll Road. Organizers of the California Institute of Technology initiation ritual said they didn't realize the road had been covered last year by a landslide.

"You've got to remember that common sense is not factored into the intelligence quotient," said Deputy Greg Gabriel, who leads the Altadena Search and Rescue team.

The annual Mount Wilson Night, when freshmen are initiated into the Page House dormitory at Caltech, started off as planned Monday night, Caltech sophomore Nick Goeden said Tuesday.

The group had a large dinner before dressing the freshmen in costumes and parading them throughout Pasadena. The young men and women were then taken to the Mount Wilson Observatory for the planned 10-mile descent down the road.

A quarter-mile from the bottom, the group got stranded in Eaton Canyon where the landslide blocked their path. Rescuers were called in at about 3 a.m.

The students didn't have flashlights, warm clothes or other important supplies, Gabriel said. But the deputy said they were equipped with "distinctive headgear - hats with antennas and horns, that kind of stuff."

AP, 1 February 2006

The greatest sacrifice of all

No sex before suffrage
By James Sturcke

If Tony Blair or George Bush or any other leader promised to give up sex for two-and-a-half months, would you be more likely to vote for them? Would you be impressed by the show of strong-mindedness and the notion of putting basic urges to one side while focussing on one's duty to the state? Would you think it a welcome relief from the quixotic promises of tax cuts and better public services that perfunctorily dominate polling campaigns? Or would you think it an election gimmick?

Italian voters were facing that conundrum today after the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, promised to be chaste until the country's general election, due to be held on April 9.

Mr Berlusconi, Italy's richest man and a father-of-five, told a TV preacher that he would "try not to let you down" as he made the pledge. In return he was thanked by Massimiliano Pusceddu, not least because the PM also took the opportunity to restate his opposition to same-sex marriage.

The coming weeks will tell whether Mr Berlusconi, who once told international financiers that the beauty of Italian secretaries was good reason to invest in the country and has mused about legalising brothels, has now successfully moved to tap the celibate vote. Election strategists take note.

Guardian.co.uk, 30 January 2006

[For more entertaining Silvio gaffes, see this article]

The wisdom of Shane Warne

"I've just turned 36. The likelihood is in four years time I'll be 40."

SHANE WARNE, Radio 5 Live