Archive for the 'media' Category

Question

Wednesday June 20, 2007

What do you get if you increase revenues for your company by over $5bn, boost operating profit from a loss to over $1bn a year and increase shareholder value by $30bn, all in the space of 5 years?

Answer: the sack.

The crime? You’re not Google.

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Desperately Dodging The Sopranos

Monday June 11, 2007

Everything written about The Sopranos is true: it’s simply the best TV series ever and Shakespearian in significance. The very final episode screened on US TV last night. The final series hasn’t screened in the UK yet, so I don’t know the specifics but I know it’s ended on a cliffhanger – does Tony Soprano live or not?

99% of the blogs or magazines I read are American and 50% of these have postings on the final episode of The Sopranos. Most of these blogs, btw, are tech/new media related and nothing to do with mainstream TV, such is the crossover appeal of this series. My challenge for the next week or so is to avoid reading a blog that mentions the ending.

Fact: I’m a little out of my depth when talking about Shakespeare. I had to look up the spelling.

Stuff

Thursday April 12, 2007

Been ages since I blogged, I know, but sometimes I just don’t feel like it. I hate March.

Here’s my recent, unusually active, media consumption:

Jamie T: one-man Arctic Monkeys meets Lily Allen meets Eminem. I go through phases of really liking it, then thinking I’m overrating it. Recently came across this clip on Youtube which swung me back into the like-him-again camp. My overall conclusion is he’s the real-deal and is one for the future.

Amy Winehouse – there’s a point at which ‘influenced by’ becomes ‘stolen from’ and she may have reached it, but decent sounding.

Sunshine, by Danny Boyle. Audacious sci-fi tale of 6 astronauts on a mission to re-ignite the sun to save a freezing planet earth. Well worth a look this film, but perplexing at times and not in the satisfying way 2001: A Space Odyssey is.

Hot Fuzz. Waste of time.

The Trap. 3-part documentary series by Adam Curits shown recently on BBC2 about ‘the concept and definition of freedom’. Not nearly as dull as it sounds, mostly because its visuals have an almost cinematic quality to them, borrowing a lot of footage and music from films and its story arc as good as the tightest Hollywood script. I disagreed with an awful lot of this documentary, particularly as it reached its most opinionated peak towards the last episode, and although 3 hours in length it feels like it skims over some important issues at times. Despite its flaws, The Trap is important television and you should watch it. You can get it from UKNova.

World Press Photo of the Year

Thursday February 22, 2007

Some stunning shots from the World Press Photo of the Year competition. Once you’re on the site click on ‘next winner’ for some memorable photographs.

This is the winner. Bagsy the one in the white.

World Press Photo of the Year

Foreign Minister and She Knows It

Monday February 19, 2007

It’s probably not a good idea for me to watch Fashion TV’s live coverage of the Rio Carnival. It just causes me to feel sorry for myself, horny (they wear hardly any clothes, although far too much plastic for my tastes) and to call people who I shouldn’t who don’t answer anyway coz they’re too busy enjoying themselves at the Carnival.

This woman is officially the fittest Foreign Minister on the planet. Country? Yep, Colombia. Being Foreign Minister is Colombia must be pretty shitty. I’d hate it coz I’d be overseas all the time trying to convince people there’s more to the country than kidnapping and drug trafficking when you’d much rather be at home <licks lips> looking after Colombianas.

Media consumed recently:

Estudando o Pagode from Tom Zé.  Ace.  This guy is really old but you couldn’t tell from this CD, a really nice mix of contemporary and traditional Brazilian music

Hard Candy.  Over-rated.  I think if you make any half-competent film with a ‘challenging’ subject matter (teenage girl turns tables on pedo) you’ll get positive critical reviews.   But beyond the challenging subject matter, this film is pretty hackneyed.  For a really challenging, but well-made film, see Todd Solondz’s Happiness.

Best of the Jackson 5.  Really.  For probably the most striking vocal performance ever in pop music, listen to ‘I Want You Back’ from an 11 year old Michael Jackson.   Such pain, agony and torment from, worth saying it again, an eleven year old.

Dirty, Nasty, Slimy, Kinky!

Thursday February 15, 2007

Is one of the most shocking lines I can remember in a film, delivered by the brilliant Michael Caine in Mona Lisa, which I just watched again for the 100th time. Mona Lisa has to be my favourite film of all time. Just about everything is perfect in this film

  • Bob Hoskins, as the hapless, besotted hero, hopelessly out of his depth
  • Michael Caine as the evil pimp
  • The script…so many memorable lines: ‘You can fuck me George, but you can’t fucking hit me’, ‘He’s a pimp. He’ll drive around in a Bentley and then go home to his bedsit with a paraffin heater.’
  • The soundtrack. Louis Armstrong’s songs bring a real melancholic air to the film, hinting that tragedy’s always just around the corner.
  • Hell, I’ll even defend the Phil Collins ‘In the Air Tonight’ segment.

According to IMDB, it’s being remade next year with the title ‘Shame’. What justification is there to remake a perfect film?

Update:  fool, fool.  whisht reminds me that the soundtrack, of course, is Nat King Cole’s, not Louis Armstrong’s.

Pan’s iPhone

Saturday January 13, 2007

Chuffed to bits that Pan’s Labyrinth has been nominated for 8 (eight!) BAFTAs, which might mean it gets some renewed life at the cinema coz it’s only at two screens in London right now. The Queen was nominated for 9 BAFTAs. I just downloaded it and took a quick peak to make sure it was a decent copy but I gotta say initial impressions were not very good: Helen Mirren looks nothing like Freddie Mercury.

Much hullabaloo over Apple’s iPhone. Whatever you think of the actual product, Jobs again demonstrated his mastery of marketing, even whipping up the financial markets into a frenzy; Apple’s 8% share price rise is evidence of that. Here’s my take on the product itself:

The space is the right one. PDA meets phone meets MP3 player is obviously the way all mobile devices are heading. All the manufacturers knows this, so the race is on to deliver it

  • Looks great. Quelle surprise.
  • No support for 3G. This is a bigger deal in Europe than in the US where, AFAIK, 3G is not so prevalent.  Cringely has an interesting take on this. My take on it is that in Europe it will significantly harm its chances of success, it’s difficult to imagine people downgrading the speed of their connection just for a slicker integrated device.
  • It doesn’t support J2ME applications. Which means all the Java applications that work on other phones, and there are hundreds, won’t work on the iPhone. Again, a bigger problem in Europe than in the US.
  • Battery and Sound Quality. Several of my Nokia phones have had built-in MP3 software, but it was always a very dissatisying experience because the sound quality was always very poor and whenever I used them to play music it would suck the battery dry very quickly. It will be interesting to see if they can preserve the sound quality of the iPod whilst managing to have a decent battery life.
  • Keyboard. I’ve never used a touch-screen keyboard that was of any use for writing messages – they’re fine for navigating around screens, but as proper input devices – useless. So the iPhone is significantly flawed as a business device.

Conclusion: for the US I’ve no doubts it’ll work, but for the more mature European markets where, perhaps, user-expectations are higher and standards are more embedded (3G, J2ME) they’ll face a tougher time.

A Masterpiece

Monday January 8, 2007

Saw Pan’s Labyrinth last night. It’s a masterpiece: Ivana Baquero’s performance, the art direction, the special effects, the storytelling, the music. It’s a film made by a film-maker at the height of his skills (Guillermo del Toro), which is surprising since to me it came rather out of the blue. I saw Cronos (13 years ago!), but thought it was really overrated and Hellboy and Blade II don’t sound that promising do they?

Anyway. See it. I haven’t felt so enthusiastic about a film in years.

Also quite enthusastic about this.

Media

Tuesday January 2, 2007

Was expecting to be out of the country over Xmas, but had to change plans at the last minute. Instead, I:

  • Went to Guanabara, a Brazilian club. Predictably, the waitresses were all Brazilian and all hot-hot-hot (‘Oi gatinha, tudo bem?’ was something I was too sober to say, but desperately wanted to).
  • Saw London to Brighton. Enjoyed it a lot. Felt like I was seeing a real film with real actors for the first-time in ages.
  • Saw Flags of Our Fathers by Clint Eastwood. It’s great that an 80-year old man still has an appetite for re-inventing genres. This isn’t quite that, but it’s at least an attempt at giving a new perspective to a well-trodden subject. My appetite for re-inventing genres was beaten out of me at the age of 8 when I suggested to my family that perhaps we shouldn’t watch The Great Escape again this Christmas and that perhaps it was time for an update of this tired old genre flick. Never again.
  • Took a friend’s child (with permission this time, I’m not making that mistake twice) to see the re-issued Wizard of Oz. Although I’ve seen WOZ several times at the cinema before (sad, I know) this was the first-time with a child. I’d like to say that this time I saw it through a childs-eye and that I re-discovered the sense of awe and amazement as I had when I saw the movie for the very first time, but truth be told I’ve never actually ever tired of this movie.  Unfortunately I was probably slightly embarrassing to the 3 year old sat next to me as he bolted for the door when I burst into ‘Ding dong the witch is dead’. He was supposed to reply ‘Which old witch?’ and then I’d say ‘The wicked witch!’ but we never quite pulled it off.

Got a business trip to Latvia next week.

Top 5 Podcasts

Friday December 29, 2006

I’ve changed jobs (I know, I know). Fantastic move for me all round and 7 weeks in I’m loving it. Only downside is that my daily commute time has jumped from 10 minutes to 270 minutes. To combat the voices in my head that normally try to fill empty times like commuting I’ve started downloading podcasts again. Very into them. After ploughing through a lot of shit, here’s what I like:

Business Week – Cover Stories: released every Thursday. Interviews with writers and editors, usually about the Business Week’s current front page. Really good piece on Amazon’s expansion from the world’s biggest e-tailer to an e-commerce managed service provider. Weekly, ~15 mins.

This Week in the Economist: again, interviews relating to the latest edition of the magazine. Weekly, ~10 mins.

The Ricky Gervais Show: him and his two mates talking shite. A good gig if you can get it. Believe it or not, this is the world’s most popular podcast with over 8 million downloads. They charge for most of the podcasts, but being a cheap bastard I’ve only ever listened to the free ones which are released occasionally. ~40 mins

Wake Up To Money: this is a Radio 5 morning business news show. Daily, ~ 20 mins.

The Game: the best football podcast by a mile. This is a podcast from The Times Online hosted by Danny Kelly with interviews and panel discussions. It’s got the right amount balance of fun and discussion and always a really good international perspective. A must for a football nerd like myself. Weekly, ~ 40 mins.

I use iTunes, btw, to manage my podcasts. The iTunes software generally sucks, but its podcast functions work great. But I’m open to suggestions if there’s a better way to manage podcast subscriptions.