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!


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.


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

Entertainment Trivia

To take your mind off the football I present some useless entertainment trivia.

After last night’s disapointment on the football field regular readers will be pleased to hear the ITV is bringing back Popstars to make our lives better. This time, according to Digital Spy, the show will look to create the UK’s next musical male-female duet. To make it even more depressing the same source also reports that ITV are planning an ITV3 – presumably so we can have Popstarts on ITV1; Popstarts Xtra on ITV2 and an additional behind-the-scenes-of-the-behind-the-scenes show on ITV3.

While I was redaing the excellent Digital Spy I had cause to update the Man of the Moment entry for Colin and Matt.

We Wuz Robbed

I don’t think I have any nails left after that match.

michael owen on the pitch - click for a larger versionWhat an entirely nail biting match that was and how very, very depressing. I imagine most of the country was watching as Michael Owen scored for us in two and a half minutes. I made the tube and the train which were – I am certain – much quieter than they normally would be at 7pm. I just made it into the house just in time for the start and for Owen’s goal and was watching all way through to Helder Postiga’s equaliser after 83 minutes for Portugal. So everything went to extra time and we all had to watch for another 30 minutes. Thank goodness for Frank Lampard who kept us in it at the end of the second half of extra-time but who on earth would want to sit and watch those penalties? [match summary]

Despite the result, it’s games like this that make me enjoy the game of football!

Come on Eng-er-land

An entry about sport. Me?

the cross of st george is the english flagWell I guess that there’s not a lot to say. There is only one topic of conversation in London today and it all revolves around the football.

There have been football songs on the radio all day (it’s simply the worst music you can listen to) and there is an excitement outside. Everywhere you go there are English flags which is really quite pleasing to see. Now, all we have to do is win!

Thousands of England fans are gathering in Lisbon ahead of tonight’s crunch Euro 2004 quarter-final against hosts Portugal. [Sky News]

The only other thing of interest I can come up with is that, apparently, “Simon Le Bon himself has heaped praise on boyband Phixx’s cover version of the 1984 Duran Duran smash hit Wild Boys” [source]. And even I don’t think that’s interesting.

So I’ll leave it at that and go and watch the match.

A Little Update

An update on previous entries.

In case you’re searching for an update on this: well, OK so the extra storage is great. The fact they haven’t replied to any of my messages sucks. I am a paying customer 😉

Oh, and I didn’t get to see the England game in a pub as I was on public transport. The trains were empty. It was very strange.

And finally, proof that digital downloads can be good for the music industry.

Football Crazy

We are all getting into the football spirit, even me.

For England’s next match (v Switzerland today) I may be in a pub with a bunch of die-hard soccer fans. Apparently, while watching the beautiful game, it’s inappropriate to say, “Wow – did you see how far he kicked that?” [BBC News]. Must remember that!

Cameraphone Backlash

A little tech news I have found: camera phones are bad, seven year old bloggers are getting eductaed while the rest of us are supposed to be old and rich.

BBC News has an article on camera ‘phones and a backlash against them. I read it and the main thing that stuck out to me was the fact that I have both the phones pictured and I don’t think either of them are good at taking photos. Sad isn’t it?

Meanwhile they also have an excellent article on the use of weblogging tools as learning aids for school children which I think raises some very interesting ideas for the use of software in education. Meanwhile, MediaPost links to an item that suggests bloggers are “they’re older and wealthier than what’s portrayed by their stereotype” [source]. I think we all wish we were wealthier but to be told I am older than other people thing is alarming!

Already It’s Mid June

It gets to the middle of June and I haven’t written that much. I must have been enjoying the sunshine.

It doesn’t feel like last week since I wrote anything here but it is. Given the May was possibly the most prolific month on Listen To Musak I think I am subconsciously giving myself a day or two off. The weather has been wonderful for the past couple of weeks and I’ve been extra busy in the office so there has been little time to get into the writing spirit.

Interestingly, the vote is in for the Mayor (Ken is back) and the local council elections. The results of the European elections were announced last night and it seems like the new countries didn’t get a very high turnout – which seems odd given their recent arrival into the community. It seems that a good number of people in the UK wanted to get the message across that they are not happy with plans to take us further into Europe. I think this is sad and wonder if it’s only a shot across Blair’s bow in the mid-term or a sign of something more powerful. The two main parties all lost and I watch with interest what their reactions to the recent votes are going to be. Turnout in the UK was up – which was certainly one good thing to come out of last Thursday’s poll.

Of course the main news pushing Europe to the middle pages is last night’s football defeat at the hands of France when it looked so certain that we had the game in the bag. Even I could tell there was some silly mistakes in injury time. And then I wake up this morning to see Ralf Schumacher was disqualified from yesterday’s Canadian Grand Prix resulting in a podium place for Jenson Button. And then we beat New Zealand at Cricket. I could almost take an interest in a summer of sport.

Whitsun 2004

A nice quiet day off, thankfully.

So, today is both Memorial Day in the US and the Whitsun bank holiday in the UK. Apparently, Whit Sunday commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of flames to the disciples (source). I see the cheese rollers of Gloucestershire have been at it again. That must really rank as one of the oddest of the British customs. Honestly, people roll cheese down a hill in the name of sport.

I am having a quiet bank holiday before returning to work tomorrow.

Palme d’Or

Michael Moore wins an award for a film most people can’t yet see.

Congratulations to Michael Moore for winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Fahrenheit 9/11. Previously I have enjoyed his books and films not just because, personally, I often find myself agreeing with his points but also because I believe it’s important for any democracy to have people who challenge the accepted wisdom. The fact that the film has not been distributed yet suggests says a great deal. I find it amusing/ironic/scary that we will happily criticise countries where government media censorship is quite clear but when censorship happens by the back door we don’t stand up to it. When big business censor media does this really make our democracies any better than when government’s take their scissors?

UPDATE 25 May: Just come across an interesting piece at BBC News today about documentary films: Documentaries turn up cinema heat. I am quite interested in seeing ‘Super Size Me’.

Apparently, there is also a film in the works, Michael Moore Hates America and the makers can’t get an interview with Mr Moore.