Monday, February 28, 2005

18 With A Bullet

on BBC Three. An arresting series of programmes documenting the lives of gangs in El Salvador, selling drugs, theiving, beating each other up and murdering people.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Tomorrowland Retrospective

A fascinating photo essay documenting the changes to Tomorrowland in Disneyland since 1967.

The Trocadero Centre - what went wrong? 10 years ago a thriving and exciting place with themed rides and simulators, Rock Circus nearby, etc. Now a dingy amusement arcade with dim lighting and hazard tape holding bits of the floor together. Very odd.


Coca Cola's huge animated billboard certainly dominates Piccadilly Circus these days. It's so bright it acts like a floodlight at night and is still clearly visible in direct sunlight during the day.


The Acorn Antiques opening set.


Cor blimey Mary Poppins! The view out of my window. The Camden Centre is in the background. Bert the chimney sweep often performs "Step in time" on these roofs, which as we all know was the original freerunning.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Hold the front pages! David Letteman's pencil with erasers at both ends surprises Late Show's writing team.


Considering this country is so reactionary about racist comments, they all seem to ignore any remarks made about David Dickinson's "tan". The fact that he is of Iranian descent appears to not be known.


Friday, February 11, 2005

Beware of magic tricks

After purchasing magic tricks from Davenports and several specialist eBay magic sellers, I have now come to the conclusion that any description of a magic trick (gimmick or gag as they call them) is hyped up beyond all reasonable need.

Half of the gimmicks are home-made devices full of sharp edges and rusty screws, and the other half arrive and you'll say "Oh, is that it?!".

I just bought a mini smoke machine that fits into your top pocket, which you can put a cigarette into and it looks like you are on fire. However, the unit spits hot oil at your face and creates such little smoke that no-one can actually see it. And it's not like these things are cheap either. That one was £41.

The trick where a ball balances on a cloth you're holding up was £35 without the cloth! (or foulard as they call it). So I ordered a foulard for £10. It was a thin piece of black nylon that had incredibly clumsy stitching around it.

Be warned!

The only good one I've bought is a trick where a match hovers in mid-air above a playing card. And it was only £1.50!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

A spokesperson has just been on the radio regarding the number of accidents on Pancake Day. Her advice was "just to be more careful".

Whatever we're paying for this Royal Society, it's not enough - it really isn't.

Ellen McArthur

I'd love to see a poll to see the percentage of the public who actually care about this yacht-obsessive nutter.

News channels - just tell us when she sets off, and if she breaks a record. One sentence would do.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Audio-animatronic pioneers (l-r Jack Taylor, Bill Justice, Marc Davis and Wathel Rogers) working on two of the dozens of 'cam cabinets' used to create character actions in Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland. Each of the cams represented an action in a figure's movement. Turning together, they bring the robotic actors to life. This photo must have been taken in early 1967. Now DACS is used which sends impulses electronically.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Has anyone heard of time zones?

It's 23.50 and the phone rings. It's an American guy asking what the price of something on my website is in Dollars. Why he thinks I have currency ticker screens on my walls and doesn't just search for exchange rates on the internet boggles my mind. I have to say I don't suffer fools gladly and was extremely curt.

At least I was awake. I remember when an Australian phoned me at 5.10am to tell me about an idea he had after seeing a product on my company website. Thing is, it was about 10 minutes into the conversation before I realised what time it was.