2004-07-25 : Sink me !
Another few days to catch up on… once again I've been head down, arse up in programming mode writing more little doohickeys for my website. The most visually obvious of these is my map thingo, which with any luck I can keep reasonably up to date as I move about the place. I've got a few ideas of what to incorporate into it next, but that'll do for Version 1.0.
The other day I was complaining about the stupidity of British “reality TV” – well little was I to realise that what I was looking at was merely a foreshadowing of the ludicrousness to come… According to this article, the braniacs behind TV production are staging some kind of dating game, where the female contestant narrows down a list of potential suitors to the one who she feels would make the most appropriate father of her child. Another would be selected based on genetic measurements. Finally, viewers get to watch the great sperm race on telly. Come on, SERIOUSLY ? Would people watch that ? I don't think it'll work though – you'd never find jockeys small enough. (BOOM! BOOM!)
But seriously folks, after a week of camping in the hostel on my backside I eventually got out into the scenic town of Oxford and had a bit of an explore. It was a fairly motivated one, at that, because there were about 4 things I wanted to get to and I only had until about 3pm to see them all. The primary reason I hadn't gotten out and seen the things was because the Soggy Planet indicated that they cost money to get into – something which I had v. little of… As it turns out, there's been a bit of a price rethink – the only thing I had to pay to get into was the Museum of Oxford, and that was 50p cheaper than the good book said !
The Modern Art of Oxford was pretty good, although I realised the thing that's been giving me the willies about video art installations all this time – most art you can just look at, observe for as long as you like, get your reaction/feeling/instinct, and then move on. Video art – due to the image being delivered to you in a linear, serial fashion – essentially demands as much time of you as the artist dictates, and that really cheeses me off! Maybe it's just cos I was in a hurry, but as interesting and important as it was to watch footage of a guy walking to work across a Palestinian occupied border zone and back with the video camera in his bag so you could only see feet and pavement, being forced to watch an hour and a half of the stuff before I can say I've viewed the work is just a bit too much.
As well as the art, I dropped in at the Natural History Museum to see the dodo remains – the only remains of this particularly stupidly designed bird in existence. They used to have an entire stuffed dodo, so I believe, however in less enlightened times (i.e. I can't remember what year they said) it was found that the bird had lice, and all but the head and feet were burnt to prevent the parasite spreading. Despite the museum's fairly haphazard layout and “work-in-progress” atmosphere, I found the exhibits there to be quite fascinating !
I also dropped in at a historical pub (for historical reasons, of course !) called The Eagle and Child. The pub was a favourite haunt of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and their contemporaries, and they would meet every Tuesday morning in the back room to read and discuss sections of whatever they were working on at the time. Alas, I had no such distinguished company, and the only thing I write is this website… so I settled for a pint instead.
Speaking of pubs, there were plenty in Oxford, including a Rosie O'Grady's (which might mean something to the Perth Folk…). For Andy the Morris Dancer's benefit, there was no “King's Anatomy” in Oxford, but there was this obligatory puerile photo opportunity.
I'm now back in London by the way, and this afternoon I had a bit of a rare treat! Normally I'm the last to wax poetic about the virtues of the IMAX Cinema (given that all they seem to show are overpriced short boring documentaries), but today I went to see Harry Potter and the Pensioner of Azerbaijan (or whatever it's called) in the London IMAX (pictured here from the London Eye), and given that it was only £1 more than a regular cinema ticket, I reckon it was wild ! I mean, what a sound system !? Of course it renders the telly back home a bit inadequate… but on the bright side you get to counterbalance the fact you've been parked on your bum for hours but enjoying a nice walk up/down 5 flights of stairs to get into the thing. Overall, it was really really cool! I've got a few problems with the film, but I think I'll wait until I read the book before I go blaming the author or the director. Alan Rickman's still my favourite character/actor in the series though – wot a legend.
I'll leave it here because I've got to be up early in the morning for an interview (yay!), but I'll leave you with this link over to Ben's Brain Dump – I know I've pointed his direction before, but it's difficult to resist a link when someone starts mooting the idea of welding reindeers together.