Friday, 25 July 2008

How to write to your bank manager

In the manner of The Young Ones (2 minutes):

Of sinners I am chief

Thought I'd cheer myself up by taking the Big 5 Personality Test. Bad move!

From my 2% score for conscientiousness to my barnstorming 97% for neuroticism, what emerged was the portrait of a monster.

Agreeableness? Uncomfortably less than 50%. Extraversion? A paltry 9%. "You probably enjoy spending quiet time alone." Don't think I've got much choice, considering.

The only flicker in the darkness: "You are relatively open to new experiences."

Such as taking online personality tests? Well, that can change…

Empty worlds

The Top Ten Ghost Towns.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The old boy in action

November, 1931: Sir Edward Elgar says hello to the orchestra and conducts the trio of his Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 (2 minutes):

This was at the opening of EMI's Abbey Road studios, London. (No snapshot of Elgar on the zebra crossing with Sir Arnold Bax, Sir Walford Davies and Dame Ethel Smyth?)

McCain v Obama, Bob Dylan style

An inventive and genuinely funny animation.

Website in the West

Her Glasgow icon "Windows in the West" was runner-up to Dali's "Christ of St John of the Cross" for the title of Scotland's favourite painting, and Avril Paton's site abounds in other handsome images of the city, but also more personal pictures of the Isle of Arran and her intriguing "New Looks" paintings, some more abstract than others.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Song of Patriotic Prejudice

Not English? Then Flanders and Swann have no truck with you, you bounder (4 minutes):

Septuagenarian psychopath enthusiast

Just finished my first Ruth Rendell (Harm Done, 1999) and quickly went Googling. Marianne Macdonald (Telegraph, 2005) tries gamely to expose what makes her tick, while Libby Brooks (Guardian, 2002) quotes fellow authors - Joan Smith, Jeanette Winterson - to size up her achievement as well as her character.


From, "funny and absurd signs from around the world".

Bijou festivalette

In the shadow of the Edinburgh Book Festival, a smaller, quirkier version is afoot in the West Port - and it's all free.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Fine incongruity

Sue Jones-Davies, unforgettable as Judith the beautiful revolutionary in Monty Python's Life of Brian, is mayor of Aberystwyth - where the film is still banned.

Sheds of Leith

Next year's must-have calendar.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Conquering underdog

We've lost Hugh Lloyd, who badgered Tony Hancock's blood donor to explain what blood is actually for, and co-starred with Terry Scott in Hugh and I and then Hugh and I Spy (the thought of his plodding silhouette behind the opening credits still makes me chuckle) before blossoming as a serious actor.

Obituaries: Guardian / Independent / Telegraph / Times

The portrait photo above was taken for The Punch and Judy Man (1963). On the right is Lloyd as the Fishface Footman in Alice in Wonderland in 1999.

Emphatically not The Singing Nun

The 62-year-old Capuchin who sings heavy metal (90 secs):

BBC report / Much longer video (in Italian)

Rabbitting off

Snapped up yesterday for £289,250, this Beatrix Potter watercolour - depicting rabbits leaving a Christmas party - becomes the most expensive book illustration ever sold at auction. More images and details at BibliOdyssey.

Molested by trains

As if having the most derided head of hair in the Commons weren't bad enough.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

A mile in his shoes

Paolo Nutini is a new name to me, but I'm obsessively playing his track "New Shoes" - buoyant, nonchalant, bowling-through-the-sunshine music. It starts automatically here.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Thinking inside the box

A six-minute clipfest of Statler & Waldorf, The Muppet Show's trusty in-house detractors:

Literary hiccup

A BBC video I can't embed: Welsh culture minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas announces Tom Bullough as winner of the Wales Book of the Year prize, only to correct himself when the beaming Bullough reaches the podium: it's not you, pal, it's Dannie Abse.

Congrats to the venerable Dannie, but heartfelt sympathy to the crestfallen Tom (and, of course, to the probably mortified minister).

Was Crippen innocent?

Was he banana, splutters
David Aaronovitch.

Tune for the likes of me

A dance track crammed with dear old souls blithering on in the Fifties and Sixties, while a brass band suffers a nervous breakdown - that's "England" by Broadcaster, which starts automatically here.

Primitiver and primitiver

The first (1903) film version of Alice in Wonderland (9 minutes):

When Mice Attack

Peter of Naked Blog is assailed by vermin.