In Case Of Emergency

Sometimes the simplest ideas are by far the best. Bob Brotchie, from the East Anglian Ambulance Service, had a great idea to enable the emergecy services to contact somebody close to you if you are involved in an accident. The ICE (In Case of Emergency) entry in your mobile ‘phone’s contacts list is brillaint. Read on for more or check out this story at BBC News.

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Harry’s Here

At midnight the latest Harry Potter book went on sale.

Thank goodness. At midnight the latest Harry Potter book went on sale. For the last six months – almost every time I have purchased anything in one of the major book stores in London – I have been asked if I would like to reserve a copy. The answer is always no. In recent weeks it’s started to get irritating. I don’t want to pre-order Harry Potter nor do I want an oversized chocolate bar at half price because I was buying a magazine. Just sell me the magazine, please!

Anyway, there’s more on this at BBC News or you can visit the UK Publisher’s site or, I guess, you could go and see what J. K. Rowling has to say about it (apart from thanks for all the cash).

Two Minutes Silence

At 12 noon the bus turning the corner in front us stopped and the driver turned the engine off, right across the junction.

Just before 12 noon today my colleagues and I walked onto the London street outside the Holborn office where we work. It was a bright, hot sunny day in Central London. The kind of day that has you sweating within moments of being on the street. When we reached street level we walked into a crowd of people that had come from the buildings all around. These were office workers whose desks are probably just metres from mine but I don’t see them. I probably walk past them most days as I approach the door to the office but I just don’t see them. Today, we stood crowded onto the street together.

At 12 noon the bus turning the corner in front us stopped and the driver turned the engine off, right across the junction. The taxi at the traffic lights opposite didn’t move when the light turned green and the cyclist near him didn’t try and jump the red light. Most of the pedestrians who were walking stopped.

A silence descended upon London. Not the silence usually associated with a city. A city’s silence is usually punctuated by horns and alarms, by mobile ‘phones ringing or engines passing. No, this silence was eerily silent but it was silent.

And we bowed our heads to remember.

It was a moment when this huge, diverse city that I call home was united in thought. It’s a moment I don’t think anybody who was there will forget.

A Few Moments Of Reflection

A few moment with the news that makes all of London excited!

the olympics are coming to london!I am speechless and excited right now. I still think it would be fantastic for London but it’s also brilliant for the rest of the UK. The bid team did a brilliant job. Seb Coe‘s made himself a hero for a second time. Roll on 2012.

Elsewhere: Anna celebrates too
Elsewhere: Awarded to the city of …
Elsewhere: Tube goes all Olympic

Preliminary Vote

Hold Your Breath …

In all the excitement I had missed the fact there was a preliminary vote and we weren’t certain of making it this far: There are a few gasps in the press room as Madrid exits the vote, as some Spaniards at the back had earlier given some noisy support during its bid presentation. We now have the London-Paris finale that the whispers in the past few hours had indicated [source]. Aggghh … the tension.

What Have You Done Today?

Keep your fingers crossed for us.

I have two countdowns on the go right now. Today is the day for one of those countdowns to reach 00:00:00. Rachel Stevens and Melanie C will be performing live in Trafalgar Square later today (see here) as we wait to find out the result of the race to host the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Watch the London2012 videos and keep your fingers crossed for us. I’ll be updating later.

The G8 Summitt

I didn’t watch Live8 at the weekend. Unlike Live Aid, I didn’t get caught up in the moment.

I didn’t watch Live8 at the weekend. Unlike Live Aid, I didn’t get caught up in the moment. I am too cynical now and while I believe it was set up for all the right reasons it was hijacked. If every one of those performers had given up all the revenue from increased record sales in the next 6 months then I would have been less cynical. If the ‘Multi-millionaire rock stars performing in Philadelphia’ gave back their free gifts worth $12,000 (£6,800) [Source] I would have been a even less cynical. Alexis Petridis, in The Guardian, says, “even the most cynical observer would be forced to admit that, even judged on music alone, Live 8 has been a remarkable day” but, unfortunately, I heard very little. Still, I have higher hopes for the today’s G8 Summit. Really, I do.

Memories

I wonder how much more I will recall of the turn of the century than I will of my years at the end of the last simply because of this site?

Last week (or was it this week, time flies you see) Tom wrote about: Supernova ’05: “Apps. for a Mobile, Connected World” in which he noted Mena – of Six Apart fame – talking about memories,

Mena really brought memories to the fore. She stated that she wished she had a record of everything that had happened in the first twenty-seven yearas of her life like she has since she first started weblogging (source)

Occasionally I realise that this site has a similar effect on me. I wonder how much more I will recall of the turn of the century than I will of my years at the end of the last simply because of this site? The On This Day link for 26 June sent me back to watching the Olympic Torch crossed south London on its way to Athens. I’d totally forgotten that. What’s more, I didn’t Flickr the pictures so I have seen them for a long time; I’m not too sure where I filed them. Fickr needs an On This Day app so you can see pictures to took on this day in history. It would really help the memory!

And while I am on the subject of Flickr, does anybody else find it annoying that the default sort and ordering is by upload date rather than taken? You often upload when you get back from a trip, like I did last Monday for Zaragoza. All the picture carried the right time stamps but they were uploaded in a sightly different order so I had to play with them to get them displayed correctly. Am I missing something?

Cabinet War Rooms

I’d recommend the place to anybody looking for an interesting day out in London.

cabinet_war_rooms.jpg.jpgI hadn’t been to the Cabinet War Room for a number of years so today’s visit was a great chance to remind myself how wonderful they are. The Rooms are really well done and the audio guide brings some of the exhibits to life. The new Churchill Museum is also open now and that’s got some really interesting interactive exhibits to follow Churchill’s life (concentrating, of course, on his years as War Prime Minister). I’d recommend the place to anybody looking for an interesting day out in London.

All Change

A new look for an old favourite

Jase has changed his site (and seems to have moved his RSS feed). It’s a great new look but I hope this change of focus doesn’t stop him posting!

There’s so much I would like to do on this site right now: so much to write and a few design changes I would like to make. When am I going to find the time to keep up?

I did notice that Gillian McKeith has a new recipe book out and I am so tempted!! Despite the fact that I could never stick to her diet I do love her tv show. I’d love to spend a day with her!

Festen

The Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue is currently home to a production of Festen, David Eldridge’s adaptation of the cult film by Thomas Vinterberg The play, directed by Rufus Norris, no longer had the original cast but I don’t think that matters: it’s a stunning piece of theatre.

paul_n.jpgthisistheatre.com sums it up well: Patriarch Helge Klingenfelt is celebrating his 60th birthday with his family at a magnificent old hotel in the Danish countryside. Gathered together are his loyal wife Elsa, his daughter Helene, and sons Christian and Michael. As the evening progresses Christian feels compelled to break the silence surrounding a dark family secret. The effect is explosive and sets the tone for a celebration no-one will forget! [Source]

I don’t really want to give the plot away any more but you can read a little more at The Independent’s review (and some non plot-spoiling reviewer’s comments at the Festen site). Regardless, it’s a powerful piece of work with some excellent acting. It’s hard to pick anybody out but Stephen Moore (Helge), Paul Nicholls (Christian) and Lisa Palfrey (Helene) are just three of the wonderful performances.

Credit must also be given to designer Ian MacNeil and all the others involved in the staging of this work. It’s simple, yet stunningly effective, set is a wonder. The stark, dark stage that opens the play hides some very clever set work.

As it appears only to be running until the start of May I would advise you to go now! thisistheatre.com has tickets.

Kinsey

Whereas biopics can be fawning and dull Kinsey is watchable and entertaining.

What to say about Kinsey? It’s a fascinating and absorbing biopic insight into the man who many feel started the sexual revolution of the modern age. Liam Neeson’s superb, intense depiction of the biologist who studied human sexual behaviour the way he’d studied gall wasps, that’s to say he collected thousands of samples, is brilliant. Laura Linney is brilliant as his wife and it’s the pair’s wedding-night bedroom difficulties that start the research that was to change the way a world thought about sex. Neeson is supported by a great cast including Timothy Hutton, Chris O’Donnell, and Peter Sarsgaard as the researchers who bring extra sexual ambiguity to the piece. It is of course, very much a piece of it’s time. In an age where we now see every variety of sexual shenanigans paraded on our televisions, in magazines and across the web it’s harder to appreciate what impact the work had on the world.

The depiction of Kinsey’s motivations may be challenged and history condensed but it is a great work and some are saying it’s Neeson’s best work to date. Nonetheless, whereas biopics can be fawning and dull Kinsey is watchable and entertaining.

  • The Guardian: Condon takes a sympathetic line, though, in his absorbing cine-biography which promotes the view that however muddled he was, Kinsey was brave to try using scientific methods to explain sex in an age of unreason.
  • The Observer: What is most remarkable perhaps is the film’s mature view of sexual matters, balancing the serious side with its frequently tragic consequences, and the often comical, even absurd aspects.
  • Empire Online: A deftly directed, superbly acted and occasionally witty biopic which is not afraid to engage with the complexities of its central character.

They Have The Cool Jobs

Flickr has photographs from the Rufus Wainwright session on 6 Music.

rufus at the bbcMany years ago I spent a small amount of time working for BBC local radio. We had minor celebrities pass through the studios but they never phased me. When I first came to London I worked for a company that had studio facilities. A few bigger celebrities came through in the years I worked there and, again, I was not too bothered. Tom, however, got to see Rufus Wainwright play at 6 Music and that makes me very jealous. Everybody loves his new album (which is out here on Monday) and you can find him all over the press this weekend including, and I find it odd, The Times’ Health and Fitness section. Right now, however, I am listening to They Might Be Giants from 1990. Unconnected, I know but brilliant nonetheless.

Closer

A mixed film with most cringe-worthy chat room flirtation that I’ve ever seen. Sadly, not recommended.

closer.jpgI thought Closer was a mixed bag of a film. The performances of the four protagonists are not too bad: Jude Law as Dan is convincing as a bit of a self-obsessed wimp; Natalie Portman as Alice isn’t too bad with some interesting character quirks; Clive Owen is the most real as Dr Larry but Julia Roberts is cool (nay, cold) as Anna in a role I was least convinced with.

I haven’t seen the stage play but the sexual intrigue and adulteries of the film lose believability as the film progresses. While it’s both a simple love story told through a complex series of inter-woven relationships and coincidences I still wanted to shout out at the characters for their self-centred stupidity.

I did, however, like the film technically. You have to stay engaged to keep up with the way the story is told. The edits jump (but don’t jar) and you can’t dose. The four players are, more-or-less, the only performers on the screen and, despite what I say above, the intensity of the performances does help keep you engaged and they should all be credited for that.

A mixed film with most cringe-worthy chat room flirtation that I’ve ever seen. Sadly, not recommended.

  • The Guardian: The fizzingly talented Marber may well write a great film soon. But this isn’t it.
  • Empire: frank enough to push back the boundaries of how explicit non-porno film can be about sex but manages to be brutally funny with it
  • BBC: Nichols’ clinical approach fails to elicit deep empathy for any of these characters whose foibles are intended to reflect us all