Friday, March 31, 2006

Hello, I'm a dead person!

J.P. sent this to me this morning. He is a sick BASTARD!

I love him so!

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At 10:46 am, Blogger stuboo said...

is that diana?


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Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (or, Say it again in English please)

There haven't been many films more controversial than Salò, or The 120 Days Of Sodom, Piers Paulo Pasolini's final work. I don't know of any other film that has been banned in Australia then released then banned all over again. Australia has a penchant for banning films, some pretty good films at that. Sure, my mother told me that I couldn't watch "Dawn Of The Dead", "The Toxic Avenger" and "Re-Animator" but the poor bastard Queenslanders were told they weren't allowed to watch them by their government. The Queensland government even deemed "A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors" too much for those delicate minds.

Of course, the controversies over recent films such as "Ken Park", "Irreversible" and "Baise-Moi" have simply proved to excellent (and relatively cheap) advertising for films of varying quality. So, how securely does Salò stand on this pedestal of infamy? Well, we flocked to our "reception" room tonight to settle in to watch it. It certainly wasn't our love of classic Italian political allegory that drew us in, it was a love of laughing at tacky psuedo-horrors and the parochial bureaucrats who banned a film for something so obviously silly. The night didn't exactly go to plan.

Pasolini based the film on a text written by the Marquis de Sade whilst he was imprisoned for some unseemly act in La Bastille. In De Sade's tale, four "libertines" are regaled with peversely erotic stories by four prostitues while they prevail themselves on eighteen youths they have kidnapped for their sexual "delight". Pasolini transports the story to the "Salò Republic", the seat of power in during the German occupation of northen Italy. Pasolini spent part of his childhood here and his experiences obviously "fucked him up big time", for want of a better expression.

The film has plenty to shock abundant nudity, rape, paedophilia, homosexuality, scalping, excrement, flagellation. While not as disturbing as it surely must have been when it was released in 1976, "Salò still manages to fill the soul with dread. It must be noted here that the disconcerting effect of bad lip synching brought on by lag in the digital copy we were watching as well as the fact that the subtitles were appearing fully 15 seconds after the characters spoke made for an almost indecipherable mess of emphatic Italian so the nuances of the plot were difficult to grasp.

The tale stands as a sickening exploration of power and the Fascist mindset. The actual images are not all that disturbing (given that we now get to sit through the gratuitousness of new millenium horror) but there is an arch "artiness" to the whole affair brought on by static camerawork and almost Vermeer-lik mise-en-scène. The distance this creates forces the audience into the role of uncomfortable voyeur. It is obvious that there is intended meaning for everything that goes on here, each depraved image denotes something beyond the frame of the film. The masters' philosophising makes this abundantly clear but there is a definite, and most probably intentional, inaccessibility to the conclusive meaning of the symbols. The feast of faeces was apparently Pasolini's comment on the emerging fast food industry. This is an art film through and though.

Ultimately, Salò is an engaging and complex film. It is classic Italian political allegory and deserves to be remembered as such, not as "that banned film". Ironically, Salò damns the control of the few and the misuse of power, an important theme that merits exploration yet it was shut down (twice) by people in power who couldn't see past the flesh. I think there is something in that for all of us!

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At 12:01 am, Anonymous Angela said...

So THAT'S what 'Salo' was about! But seriously, it ended up being a surprisingly remarkable film. I really wasn't expecting such critical, philosophical concepts. Perhaps we should watch it again one day (but this time with the subtitles actually aligned to the words; I think I lost a lot of top moments because I was too busy trying to figure out who was saying what!). My friend in Perth is doing her postgrad on erotica fiction arising from trauma; I shall email her now and tell her to try and obtain a copy of 'Salo.'

At 12:16 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I think we should watch it again sitting in a room covered in red cellophane, tickling caribou, with the sound playing through a vocoder and the subtitles in upside down and in Sanskrit.

It won't make any more sense but I think the process will give the act more resonance.



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Angels To The Rescue!

I got to put my suit on again today. What a joy, I thought as I strutted to my registration appointment at Office Angels. Yes, that is right, the same Office Angels who hadn't called me after I repeatedly emailed them my CV. They have a phonebook. I shouldn't have to my mobile phone numbers in EXACTLY the right order!

The test and all that malarky went pretty much the same way as the Reed registration went except that this time there was a numeracy and spelling test. Wow, those things are nerve racking when you are on the other side. I am sure the bastard karma police were laughing their arses off. My heart rate began to gallop and I flustered in my seat with the broken calculator and watched the clock tick down. I thought I had ten minutes to complete all the test but I actually had ten minutes for each test so I managed to calm myself after the numeracy section.

I thought I had arsed it up completely while I was sitting waiting for the results, quietly kicking myself for being too cocky to read the actual instructions. Surprisingly I managed to pull together 90% for all of the tests (and an average for data entry but once again they impressed upon me that I wouldn't be going down that path anyway).

It was when I sat down with the recruitment consultant that things started looking up. These people know what they are doing. They are honest and helpful. Such a different vibe than Reed (who can't even return a phone call). They pretty much said what I was expecting. They feel I am more than capable of doing just about anything they can offer but my lack of experience is a barrier for anyone they have to submit a CV to. Their plan is about what my plan was going to be: a bit of anything till something takes my fancy. The best thing is that they have a walk in service of a morning so that you can almost be assured of getting a placement for the day. Plus there is an incentive to get up early. Hoorah!

I congratulated myself by buying a set of weights so I can get back all those delightful muscles I had been working on before I left Oz. Roll on summer, roll on!

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At 10:59 am, Blogger stuboo said...

hoorah! nice to hear you sounding all chirpy like, like an early morning blackbird!

c'mon muscles, you can do it!


At 12:09 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...


or as they say in Spain:



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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Music For Your Rears

I know it is ugly and I know the sound quality is not that crash hot (I am going to try to fix both those problems) but at least it plays music.

I am talking about the new player in the sidebar, dumbass!

You know I love spouting out about the music I love so it is just another outlet for me to annoy you like I always have. I'll try to keep the songs rotatin' (hell, it is not like I have anything else to do!).

This week's ditties:
Elbow: Station Approach - Awesome opener from the new album. These guys have finally found a real sound.

The Stills: Gender Bombs - More from the band I harped on about last week. My favourite track from "Logic Will Break Your Heart".

Placebo: Blind - From their new album. This one goes out to Samara and her bewildering fascination for androgenous Belgians.

A.C. Newman: Drink To Me Babe, Then - Excellent solo effort from the mastermind behind The New Pornographers.

The Decemberists: The Mariner's Revenge Song - A sea shanty from the master storytellers.

Coco Rosie: Beautiful Boys - Esoteric electro-reggae/hip-hop/opera from the band that supported Antony on his recent gig in Melbourne (now he is supporting them).

Sufjan Stevens: The Dress Looks Nice On You - Sufjan... 'nuff said.'

Tapes 'n Tapes: The Illiad - Interesting and ecclectic style from the new darlings of the indie scene.

The New Pornographers: Use It - So hard to choose a song from these guys, every one is a gem.

Belle and Sebastian: Judy And The Dream Of Horses - Off the recent live recording of "If You're Feeling Sinister". The sound is so fleshed out, it is like a whole new B+S album, only from their classic years! Priceless!



At 11:49 pm, Anonymous darren said...

wow your blog is so high tech! that sufjan song is probably my favourite.

just thought i'd let you know that i've been enjoying your blog muchly.

hey i ended up buying a new camera after being inspired by those death cab pics you linked to on flickr! i got my own flickr account but there is nothing on there yet.

At 12:08 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

The player is giving me the shits and it sounds shit.

I want it to sound THE shit! Next time I'll put fewer songs on and put them at higher quality. I only have 10 meg of webspace. If anyone wants to donate some, feel free.

That Sufjan song is great. It is from Seven Swans and I read somewhere that many prefer it to Illinois so I thought I'd give it another listen.

Darren, I reckon you should check out The Books' "Lost and Safe". You'll like! Try "An Animated Description Of Mr. Maps" first. Lovely sonic atmospherics.

Congrats on the new cam, too. Let me know when you put some photos up.


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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cultural Implosion

Many people say that the art scene has its head stuck up its own arse but I sometimes feel that the mainstream "art" scene is turning in on itself, so much so that its head is up its own arse and it is knawing on its own slippery intestines and pretty soon it is going to fall into a quivering heap on the floor, strangled by its own sphincter. Sorry to go all Chuck Palahniuk on you.

Let me explain.

The whole blockbuster mentality seems to be so pervasive at the moment that the only way any work is able to find the financing to move into production is if it is a known quantity. What does that mean for us? Remakes, reworkings and revivals! That is fine, I am quite happy to see a revival, some of them are quite good, Walter Bobbie's 1996 revival of Chicago was fantastic, as was Rob Marshall's film version based on it.

Turning stage into screen is nothing new, it rarely works but when it does it is a joy to watch. Bringing screen to the stage is new. In a theatre world already dominated by "revue" musicals like Mamma Mia: The ABBA Musical, We Will Rock You: The Queen Musical and Moving Up! The Billy Joel Musical (along with Boney M, John Lennon, The Smiths...) musical movies are now making headway. The Lion King, Mary Poppins, Hairspray, Saturday Night Fever are all musicals now and Xanadu is gearing up (at least that gives me an excuse to add a picture of Livvy).

No big whoop!

But now we are getting movies of musicals of movies. The Producers became The Producers: The Mel Brooks Musical became The Producers: The Movie of the Mel Brooks Musical.

John Travolta has just signed up to star in Hairpray: The Movie of the Musical of the Movie.

I only hope they can milk it for all it's worth and make a musical about the making of the movie of the musical of the movie.

I know I am whinging. It can work if people put the effort in. I suppose I am complaining more about the "surefireness" of it all. That mentality is what brought us the dud film versions of Phantom of the Opera and the musical banality of most of the "jukebox" musicals in the West End at the moment.

Maybe I'm just grumpy! Maybe I should go and eat my own intestines.

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At 11:59 am, Blogger Donald said...

It's hard no to conclude that it's all just for more moola. "The Producers" for example, was a funny movie and made a great theatrical musical, but simply filming that musical didn't make a great movie.

I think the theatrical musical as an art form can (contrary to popular belief) often do so much more than a movie. Why compromise the process (and the art) by trying to then turn it back into a movie? (Other than to squeeze every last penny out of the cultural goodwill established by success on the stage).

Same with "Rent": a great musical, but when filmed, a terrible movie.

And John Travolta as Mama? No, no, no! He should get together with Kirstie Alley and Tom Cruise and stage: "Xenu: The Musical Spectacular!".

At 2:24 am, Anonymous Angela said...

Donald, I have no doubt that 'Xenu: The Musical Spectacular!'is in the pipelines somewhere. Theme music by Isaac Hayes. Guest starring Jason Lee, Nancy Cartwright, Punky Brewster...oh the great people we have lost to Scientology. It's strange; I feel like I need to mourn these people.

At 2:59 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I am just imaging the scene in which the protagonist, Kate Cebrano, in a brillian career comeback, gives birth in total silence (shhhhh!) surrounded by interpretive dancers carrying lame-arse "Be silent and make all physical movements slow and understandable" placards and spirit fingers.

At 11:00 am, Blogger stuboo said...

"& i won't ever walk away
just be brave & sta-a-a-a-y"


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Microsoft Woes From The Horses' Mouths

Someone inside Microsoft is peeved at upper management over the delay of their new OS, Vista.

The post and the following comments make for an extremely interesting look at the ground floor workings of Microsoft and the development of the corporation as a work environment over the past decade.

It is really nothing more than office bitching but this office basically runs the computer world.

Inevitably about halfway down the comments page the Mac zealots pop in and bring the whole discussion back to MAC vs PC but up until then it is well worth your time.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

More daylight for us!

Howdy all,

Just letting y'all know that we have now entered an exciting new time in London. Daylight saving time!

Now when it is midday here, it is 10 p.m. in Melbourne (for another week), 7 p.m. in Perth and many other times in many other places.

You may want to remember that because we may be setting up a webcam to say hello to y'all from our housewarming this coming Saturday. Drop me a line if you are interested in hooking up to say hello and I will let you know how.


At 9:12 am, Blogger Teardrop said...

I have shitty internet speed so i'll just be there in sprit.

Miss you ;)

At 9:53 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Miss you too, you sneaky devil.

You didn't tell me you were blogging...


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House Of Wax

Yes we finally descended into tourist heaven, Madame Tussauds.

It was surprisingly entertaining considering the morning pretty much consisted of wandering through large rooms filled with people and mannequins. We could have just hung out at Myer.

I loved the strange sense of awe that arose when looking at these imitation celebs, a sense of awe mixed with a feeling of stupidity for feeling awe while looking at an inanimate object. The wax works manage to place the celebrities on a pedestal (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally) as well as making them entirely accessible. These people are just people, just with bigger heads (quite literally).

Things I have learnt from Madame Tussauds:

Tussauds is spelt without an apostrophe
Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and Gandhi are short arses;
J-Lo has a seriously large booty;
Jennifer Aniston does not look like herself without good hair;
Marie (Madame Tussaud) made the death masque of Marie Antoinette after she had her (not so) pretty little head cut off.

If you want to see all the obligatory stupid positions I posed in then check out the gallery.

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At 1:05 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

pfft! there should be a wax work on ANJANKA, not BUFFY!


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No Smoking (except for pipes)

No Smoking (except for pipes)
Originally uploaded by No-necked Monsters.

Noticed this in Baker Street tube station.

It struck me as amusing. You?


At 4:00 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

crack pipes?

At 9:42 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

They do say he had a habit!


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Sunday, March 26, 2006


I had a coffee after dinner last night so I was up pretty late scouring the net like a French truffler.

I snouted out a few. The pic above is from Michael Paulus' gallery of the skeletal systems of cartoon characters. So Charlie Brown has a backbone after all.

Alan Outten's site has a few interesting installations including a link to the world's smallest website where you can play Pong or Pac-man on the toenail of a fairy.

My personal favourite though is the website of coder/designer/digital magician, Yugo Nakamura. His work is astounding in its grace and simplicity. I never thought a couple of vectors could be so entrancing. Check it out at

Last of all, I finally checked out a couple of vids that have been the focus of much geek-speak in the Nerd Cave over the last few days:

A cat falling from a tree... a very tall one (tree not cat).
An autistic basketball hero.
Engage! The Captain Picard Musical

...and you absolutely have to listen to this guy and his ukelele:

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At 1:08 pm, Anonymous belial said...

I expected a real piss-take. And, although it is funny in a bizarre way, the ukelele is amazing!
However it took forever to download. A faster version can be found at:

Picard on the other hand. Why?

At 2:30 am, Anonymous Angela said...

Is the 'nerd cave' supposed to be our home? What a sadly perfect way to describe to describe our humble abode.

At 3:06 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I am sorry, Ange.

When I was writing I was hit by the image of the four of us sitting watching Smallville in our comfy little "reception", laptops atop laps, and I thought: WE ARE BIG NERDS IN A LITTLE CAVE THAT IS PERFECTLY APPOINTED FOR ALL MANNER OF NERDISHNESS.

Don't get me wrong. We are cool nerds. We are like Melbourne indie-kids, just without the stupid hair.


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Cook The Pain Away!

I've spent the day cooking. We made sushi for lunch and then we ate it. See our two new housemates, Ange and James. I have obscured their faces to protect them from bad, mouth-stuffed photography.

Now there are pasties in the oven.

I doctored granny's pasty recipe a little but I am sure she won't mind.

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The Sun Doesn't Shine Out Of My Arse...

Got this shot on the way back from dinner. My camera has an artistic life of its own. I don't mind most of the time.

We went out to dine at La Tasca, in Covent Garden this time. We were joined by Trevor and Juliet, two of Roger's friends. It was nice but after two meals there the whole fanchise deal got a little tired, even for a tapas bar.

We didn't stay out late since I was still feeling a little flat because I am a fool who can't even type out a mobile phone number.

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At 3:30 pm, Anonymous belial said...

No Mikey, the sun shines on your face, a much prettier vantage I am sure. Though your flash is trying to compete with its better in a very bad way.

We all have bad days. Somebody interested in offering you work will soon get over one typo.

Cheer up. It will happen!

At 1:07 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

don't beat urself up meester mike! a genuine mistake is all it was & could've happened to anyone! chin up! xx


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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Pristine Is NOT Cool!

Banksy, guerilla artist extraordinaire has written a piece for The Guardian about the evil of clearing Melbourne's graffiti in the face of the Commonwealth Games.
Melbourne is the proud capital of street painting with stencils. Its large, colonial-era walls and labyrinth of back alleys drip with graffiti that is more diverse and original than any other city in the world. Well, that was until a few weeks ago, when preparations for the Commonwealth games brought a tidal wave of grey paint, obliterating years of unique and vibrant culture overnight.
What would Brunswick Street be without all that stencil art? The huge Mickey Mouse? The little girls in gas masks? They had better not have touched them.

Where do people get off thinking clean is beautiful. Sure it has its place. A Japanese sand garden. A national park. But not on a street. Chipped paint and the ratty ends of posters stripped from brickwork by the rages of the week is what makes Melbourne streets Melbourne streets. There is wealth there. Layer upon layer of expression and history. Take that away and Melbourne will lose its soul.

And grey? Why choose grey. Surely a nice green would have been better, or yellow, it certainly would have been happier. Especially when the stencil artists return. And they will.

Until then you can check out Melbourne's streets on the web. I have posted a few links here but make sure you check out State Of Flux because they have a database of photos linked to maps and you can search by street. That is where I found Damien, one of my favourites on Leicester Street, Fitzroy.

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Bad News? Good News?

So I have just finished a good session of bawling like a babe.

There, there. All better now. Or as good as it is going to get.

I am a supreme fool. Most of you know that the whole "I still have not received a single job offer" thing was getting to me. Well I checked over my curriculum vitae and found that I had written my mobile number down incorrectly. Instead of 5836 I had typed 5386. Hoorah!

So I have just finished (r)emailing all of the jobs I have applied for in the last few days as well as all of the temp agencies (even though it makes me look about as professional as a two year old.

Maybe things will start looking up again.

Mother FUCKER!!!


At 12:49 pm, Blogger Donald said...

These things happen. No biggee. Keep on keepin' on.
D x


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Friday, March 24, 2006

Beware: Commercialism Within

American Express is the last site I though I would be linking to this morning when I got out of bed (or it would have been if I had managed to get out of bed yet) but I stumbled over this little ad on Google Video:

Yes, watch M. Night work his directorial magic... on himself... again...

How Hitchcockian!

It is quite creepy though, no? What is creepier is that the waitress looks almost exactly like Imogen. What is creepier still is how similar Shamil is to M. Night!

I was a little disappointed when the "My Life, My Card" slogan was uttered. I was hoping for it to be some obscure Japanese commercial for Scotch whiskey á la "Lost In Translation". Anyway, check out the link at the top of this post to see all the behind the scenes jiggamebobby.

But why stop there? Have some Ellen, too:

She still got it!

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At 9:25 am, Anonymous Shamil Night Sharmazarlam said...


Its an Indian dude sitting alone in an eatin and imbibin place - of course it looks like me. Is there any champagne ?

At 5:06 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

ellen still does have it. but her network sure as hell should drop her tacky, cheap lookin' talk show. man, it's crap!


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Let's "Big Mamma" it up a little!

Did you notice the new background? It comes to you courtesy of Citrus Moon and this little fella:
I think it softens the background a little and is reminiscent of the "old southern" feel of the movie but if it looks ghastly on your screens then let me know.

Doesn't it look like there is a hole in the post (that goes all the way to Chinaaaaa!)

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At 1:09 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

laura ashley comes to mind!!

At 1:10 pm, Blogger stuboo said...



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Write Me!

I know some of y'all have been pushing me to write something more substantial that a blog entry and I know that I have told y'all that I can't, I won't and I shouldn't but I have actually padded the idea with my little feline paws (yeah, I know I am about as cattish as Halle Berry but I couldn't think of an idiom that involved otters and ideas).

In my procrastination I came upon this excellent blog about the writing process by Buffy/Angel/Firefly scribe, Jane Epenson.

Along with her sage advice about spec writing she will often toss in some anecdotes about Joss and the gang. It is quite engaging, as one would expect. Plus you get to find out what she eats for lunch.

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At 4:08 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

good golly i do like her! & she's written for some great shows (NOT including 'TRU calling' (why, eliza, why???!!!) or 'gilmore girls')


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Be Stills My Thumping Breast

The Stills is the best group you've probably never heard of. For some reason all of the hype that surrounded their first, beautifully titled LP, "Logic Will Break Your Heart" didn't make it to Australia. I haven't heard boo about them over here either, though it has been a while since they released. Way back in '03 they were praised more strongly than the now indie heavyweights, Interpol.

And rightly so!

Someone has pressed the big red button on the International Hype-O-Matic once more because "The Stills" have recorded their second LP, "Without Feathers". Cute, considering their first album cover.

I am hoping they can keep their sound together enough to hit the indie big time. They've added a shimmery keyboardist to the line-up, which is always a blessing. Their first single "In The Beginning" is bouncing around the web at the moment. It is a great opening track and it is growing on me as a song in its own right. Even though I am not completely sold yet the single has certainly whet my appetite for more of their sound.

3hive has a the new track and "Still In Love Song", one of their best cuts from "Logic...". Want more? My Ex Best Friend has more from "Logic..." for you to jam inside your head. Definitely squeeze in "Love and Death" but be careful, it is hard to get it out of there!

In other new music, People Of Paper has a couple of tracks off of the Band Of Horses debut. You must check these guys out, they sound as if someone has plugged in The Shins.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

10 minutes for you to spend well...

You've seen some crazy flash games before but this one beats all. So cute, so nasty. What's not to love?

Don't Shoot The Puppy!

via BoingBoing

UPDATE: It seems the extra traffic from this site has caused "Don't Shoot The Puppy" onto a mirror. You can find it here for the time being...



At 3:10 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

i LOVE it! BANG! BANG! ... woof

At 3:12 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

bang bang, he shot me down
bang bang, I hit the ground
bang bang, that awful sound
bang bang, my baby shot me down...

At 3:13 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

i'll stop now, with the banging!

At 8:23 pm, Anonymous belial said...

I am beginning to think that you have an unnatural relationship with that little puppy stuboo. What a big gun. Metaphoric perhaps?

At 8:55 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

"Happiness is a warm gun..." Metaphoric also?

You can ponder that while Stuboo and his puppy find a frickin' room.

At 1:03 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

and what a, erm, room it was!


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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Macrame My Love...

So I was pondering the elegance of and as domain names and it came to me that a wonderful domain name would be Look, I don't know why. I have given up trying to reign in my thought processes. Aaaanyway, I ended up checking if the domain is available and I bumped into this fabulous gallery of macrame owls courtesy artist Bill Davenport.

Now, very few of you know this but I had, for many years of my youth, a boyish fascination with macrame owls. I desperately wanted one and the one that I wanted was on the back of my mother's Women's Weekly macrame book. To be truthful I cannot remember if I ever succeeded in having Mum tat me one up. I think the power of this story is all in the yearning.

Ahhh, macrame! The smell of that bristly yarn. The curl of the twigs harnessed as hangers. Will homecrafts ever reach the dizzying heights of the 70s again?

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At 8:51 pm, Blogger Donald said...

I'm sorry, but as my crack-dealer would say "That's some freaky shit!"

Call me a modernist, but I hold close to my heart, the dichotomy that in this world there's craft
...and then there's art.

(After which there's Maude, but lets not get into that right now.)

At 12:11 am, Blogger richardwatts said...

The Devil finds work for idle hands - HE TEACHES THEM MACRAME!!!

At 1:33 am, Anonymous James said...

Alas, there is no top level domain for .me(.) So might have to wait... OK that's my geeky input for the day. Back to work.

At 3:50 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Alas indeed!

There is .m(just about every other letter) but no .me.

I shall have to wait until I have another brainwave.

Oh well, we'll always have the owls.

At 6:00 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

i hear fondue kits are 'in' again?!

At 8:27 pm, Anonymous belial said...

I used to like doing macrame. But I didn't get beyond hanging basket holders. Nothing as freaky as the owl... if only I had followed my passion.


At 8:58 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I never got to actually doing macrame. I was a bit of a crochet fiend though. It's still tatting.

I can't believe I chose to join the crochet club instead of sports in primary school. Anyone would think I was a gay boy or something!


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Cheer Me Up!

Went to that interview today. Seems like a dead end (even if I get the job).

The interview took place in a hotel restaurant and took all of three minutes. He said £6 an hour, I said £8 an hour. He said I may call, I said okay.

At least I got to put my suit on.

To cheer me up I have been looking at some funny things on the net:, two strips in one. I don't know why but the humour appeals to me even though I know it shouldn't. I like the outlandishness of the characters like Drunky Crow.

Cyanide and Happiness, a little strip that JP sent over and I think is absolutely hilarious and irreverant.

Married To The Sea, a daily cartoon that tickles my phancey.

And finally,, a site dedicated to exposing to the world how much of a dick Superman really is. All of the images are taken from real comics from a more "innocent" age. Check out the Seduction of the Innocent section. It's a hoot!

See! All better...

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At 6:01 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

i just love cyanide & happiness!

At 8:58 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...


At 1:32 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

rhythm is a dancer!


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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

All you need to know about WEB 2.0 (Insert choir of Angels!)

One of the most interesting thing about entering the world of blogging is that it opens your eyes to where the Internet is really heading. One little catch phrase that has been baffling me for the past few months is "web 2.0". I was convinced, for some ungodly reason, that somehow they had changed the whole infrastructure of the web or HTML or something behind the scenes to revoutionise it and that if I didn't keep up that I would be left with a cabinet of tapes when everyone else was inserting their CDs.

The reality is far more interesting.

Web 2.0 is a concept, or a change of thinking. It relates back to the collapse and is an attempt to explain and carry forward the business models that survived the devastation and rose from the ashes. has an excellent rundown of the historical foundations of "Web 2.0" as well as a concise discussion of successful "Web 2.0" design principles as evidenced in models such as Amazon, eBay, flikr, and, you guessed it, See, I'm jumping on all the bandwagons! (hint: this is where you will find out about "folksonomies").

The Long Tail
Small sites make up the bulk of the internet's content; narrow niches make up the bulk of internet's the possible applications. Therefore: Leverage customer-self service and algorithmic data management to reach out to the entire web, to the edges and not just the center, to the long tail and not just the head.

Data is the Next Intel Inside
Applications are increasingly data-driven. Therefore: For competitive advantage, seek to own a unique, hard-to-recreate source of data.

Users Add Value
The key to competitive advantage in internet applications is the extent to which users add their own data to that which you provide. Therefore: Don't restrict your "architecture of participation" to software development. Involve your users both implicitly and explicitly in adding value to your application.

Network Effects by Default
Only a small percentage of users will go to the trouble of adding value to your application. Therefore: Set inclusive defaults for aggregating user data as a side-effect of their use of the application.

Some Rights Reserved
Intellectual property protection limits re-use and prevents experimentation. Therefore: When benefits come from collective adoption, not private restriction, make sure that barriers to adoption are low. Follow existing standards, and use licenses with as few restrictions as possible. Design for "hackability" and "remixability."

The Perpetual Beta
When devices and programs are connected to the internet, applications are no longer software artifacts, they are ongoing services. Therefore: Don't package up new features into monolithic releases, but instead add them on a regular basis as part of the normal user experience. Engage your users as real-time testers, and instrument the service so that you know how people use the new features.

Cooperate, Don't Control
Web 2.0 applications are built of a network of cooperating data services. Therefore: Offer web services interfaces and content syndication, and re-use the data services of others. Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely-coupled systems.

Software Above the Level of a Single Device
The PC is no longer the only access device for internet applications, and applications that are limited to a single device are less valuable than those that are connected. Therefore: Design your application from the get-go to integrate services across handheld devices, PCs, and internet servers.

Check out the whole article here.

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At 9:15 pm, Blogger Donald said...

It's amazing - and so elegantly simple - the way that language determines (and not simply describes) reality.

Just giving a name to what for the most part could be argued as a series of disparate technological developments, elements of social organisation, or economic trends, generates something tantalisingly tangible (which of course, it isn't).

I think there is a confusion between 'Web 2.0' functionality (i.e. the dissolving difference between computing done 'on' a pc and that done through the web), and the economics of all the new money flowing to provide this.

I am amazed by the amnesia! The latest IT startups will always promise the next revolution: that they hold the 'killer app', and that, thanks to them "The way we do things is going to change forever!'. Yawn.

I wonder if it is simply that all of those who found themselves in the gutter clinging to their failed business models after the .com crash, have suddenly learned that venture-capitalists are once again awash with more cash than sense?

At 10:17 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Yes, yes, yes! It is amazing. It is simple. It is elegant. But it is also true, for better or worse.

"The limits of my language are the limits of my world" (just had to wheel that old chestnut out...)

These linguistic shifts can matter though. They can be rallied around, whether it is to stupidly and absent-mindedly throw money at (and I have no hesitation in saying that that is going to happen) or to spur innovation.

Everyone with money wants to jump on a bandwagon. Entrepreneurs are like lemmings and will happily follow each other off of a precipice. It is the ones that survive that make the difference.

I think the beauty of "web 2.0" is that it is not proposing a 'killer app', it is that 'the way we do things' is actually changing. Users are driving the change not companies or applications. Users are picking up on innovative ideas and vaulting them.

This may be a naive take on it. A new boom based on "web 2.0" will be no more stable than that that of the early nineties, if anything it will be more unstable because the end user is the deciding factor and they are incredibly picky.

Look at the companies that have "made it", upcoming, blogger, flickr. Their success has come from being bought out by Google and Yahoo! I think that therein lies the rub for "web 2.0" because the focus on functionality not profit.

The money lenders will lend money freely and the spenders will spend, businesses will go out of business but the web will be all the better for it.

At 12:00 am, Blogger Donald said...

I guess I am more cynical, especially with the sheen of google and yahoo tarnishing slightly of late, and their share prices reflecting this.

I wonder, for instance, how (other than directing users through yahoo) flickr makes any money? Is it another long-term loss-leader? And if so, could the subscription fee begin any day now?

I wonder the same with blogger? Is the idea to develop the consumer demand, amass enormous amounts of data and loyal users, before the business model finally kicks in?

At 12:14 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

flickr has a "Pro" account that you have to pay for. One of those "okay you're used to using us now make it so much better and subscribe" deals.

Blogger started with a "Pro" account and now they have dropped it. I think Google now makes money through the AdSense program placing GoogleAds through pages when the blogger requests it.

With services like I am not sure. There seems to be no revenue except, like you say, loss-leading for yahoo.


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No Wire Hangers!!!

Over at Dlisted they have nabbed a recording of everyone's favourite "Alias" guest start, Faye Dunaway hissy-fitting on an answering machine message.

This only makes me want to see "Mommie Dearest" all that much more (Byron where are you when I need you?!?!?). You can expect a review in the next few weeks, along with a few other classic movies that I have set out to see for the very first time (most notably "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" and "The Maltese Falcon").

On a very, very tenuously related note: Don't "Alias" fans make good conspiracy theorists!



At 12:22 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

oh, god, you have to see 'whatever happened to baby jane?' as well as 'who's afraid of virginia woolf?' (just to appease me) & 'mildred pierce' (another great joan crawford moment)!

At 9:39 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I have "Baby Jane" and we are just waiting for a good time! Goodie goodie!

I will hunt down the other two with a vengeance. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is playing in the West End at the moment with Kathleen Turner in the lead.

At 5:59 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

pru (mine & chel's friend) saw it the other day. said kathleen was awesome.

hunthunt, brer rabbit!

At 9:00 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Was she wearing her hat?


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I just thought I'd explain a little better the new "" goodies in the sidebar.

Put simply, is an online library of all of my browser links. Ultimately, I imagine, there will be no need for browser links, they will just be links. Storing them online like this allows me to take them wherever I go. Weeeee!

The best thing is that you can share in the wealth. Over on the sidebar, below the flikr photos, are all of my most recent finds. Clicking on any of them will take you there. If you want more control over your adventure you only need to click on the "my" link and you will be taken into the dark recesses of my web-life. You can even make yourself useful and suggest places for me to visit.

Once inside everything is arranged with tags so it is very easy to navigate through the "folksonomy".

"FOLKSONOMY"??? Never fear, it will be part of your lexicon soon.

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Whedon, Gaiman and Otters

I have been fiddling around with my bookmarks and setting up a page so that I can share the wealth. Basically, this page is a window into what gets me going on the web, which waves I am catching and which grottos I dwell in. Now you can come visit.

The best thing about it is that I (and you) can take a look at who shares my (your/our) interests and from there springboard into other pages that I (or you, or we) may like.

One such instance this morning found me tripping over this excellent interview/discussion between Time Magazine, Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman.

In it they discuss the ideas of writers, comme ça:
JW: That's the problem with doing anything. Everybody expects you to keep doing it, no matter what.

NG: For me, it's always that Mary Poppins thing. I'll do it until the wind changes.


JW: Every other question I get is about the Buffy-verse.

NG: Except the trouble is, as a creator...I saw a lovely analogy recently. Somebody said that writers are like otters. And otters are really hard to train. Dolphins are easy to train. They do a trick, you give them a fish, they do the trick again, you give them a fish. They will keep doing that trick until the end of time. Otters, if they do a trick and you give them a fish, the next time they'll do a better trick or a different trick because they'd already done that one. And writers tend to be otters. Most of us get pretty bored doing the same trick. We've done it, so let's do something different.
As interesting as that is, the only reason I really put it in is to have an excuse to show you some more otters!

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At 12:14 am, Blogger richardwatts said...

Otters are so cute there should be a law against 'em. Awwwwwww.

At 9:01 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

There should be a law that everyone should own one and meet at the park after work to let them play in the stream.


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Okay, we're back in Camden

Ah, back in Camden again, well virtually. I promised a few photos and so here they are, some of them anyway... the rest are here.

More photos have been added to the Paris gallery also if you wanna check that one out!

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Come Back To Camden

We went out to Camden market today. We had been warned that it is far from what it used to be. We had been warned that it was filled with people trying very hard to look like they were market shopping in Camden (with their leather jackets, their Clockwork Orange tees and their piercings). What we did find was all of the above and so much more.

The place is HUGE! Sure there are a lot of t-shirt stalls, and I mean a lot, and all selling the same shirts. I got the feeling at the very first stall that buying a shirt from Camden Market was a recipe for "clone-zone" disaster. So I resisted, even though there were some really ace shirts. I will maybe scout around London and if I don't see that many I will pop back and get some. I don't know how long I can live without a Thundercats tee!

Beyond the t-shirt stalls the real fun began. We crossed the canal and a whole new world of markety goodness unfurled before us. Camden market is what you would expect to see if Freo Market and Queen Vic market had a child and weaned it on steroids for ten years. Everything was there. Furniture, food, clothes, drums, raver goods... you can fill in the blanks.

And there were Spaniards. So many spanish, everywhere. There were more spaniards in Camden than there are Brits on the Costa del Sol. I think they are planning there revenge. Anyway, I have some photos but I will have to put them on tomorrow morning. I am tired from all the walking and all the lollies and the homemade fudge and the doughnuts. Bleugh!




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The Proposition (or, Sergio Leone Oz Style)

Yes, this is the second time I have seen Nick Cave's "The Proposition" But I just wanted to tell you how brilliant it is. I just wanted to tell you that all of the flies and the sun and the dust made me homesick. I just wanted to tell you how the foreboding sense of doom is so incredibly palpable throughout the entire film. I just wanted to tell you that John Hurt is an acting genius and that Ray Winstone and Guy Pierce can act their little hearts out. I just wanted to tell you that Nick Cave has an impeccable sense of character and gothic. I just wanted to tell you that more than this he can write fantastic music. I just wanted to tell you that this is one of the best films Australia has put out in the last ten years if not longer. Above all I just wanted to tell you that this film improves with a second viewing. So see it twice today!



At 4:38 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

i want, i want, i want the soundtrack!


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V For Vendetta (or, A For Alliteration)

So the critics over here have been grinding this film into the cobblestones. Everyone who was going to come and see this film with me ended up pulling out because the morning papers gave it such a terrible rap. On my own I ventured into the cinema at Shepherd's Bush and I was pleasantly surprised. The verdict of the critics shouldn't have been as dire, the film is actually a cut above most comic book films, indeed at its thought provoking best it is a cut above many Hollywood films, comic book or not. But can one movie goer make a difference?

I am not saying that the film doesn't have its faults but it is hard to place a finger to where they actually lay. I don't think any of the critics (certainly not the British critics, who seem to be the most vehement) have really pointed out the exact cause. Many blame the pacing, labelling the film Z For ZZZZzzz. I had absolutely no issue with the pacing. It is not an action film but then I was never under the impression that is was going to be. Many blame the dialogue and yes, the dialogue did at times droop a little but no more than most films and there were many moments that were beautifully scripted. Many have blamed the Orwellian iconography, complaining that it is unoriginal and clumsy but, let's face it, the film makers were working from some pretty solid (and quite dated) source material; source material that was written back around 1984.

So what was the big crime? Why have all the critics been so harsh? My answer is simple: genre clashing. "V For Vendetta" deals with some extremely challenging and thought provoking ideas and yet it is served up as a comic book action film. This is quite jarring.

When I say comic book action film "V For Vendetta" really does have all of the hallmarks: flashy action sequences, underdeveloped characters, over-written dialogue and a convoluted plot drowning in flashbacks. Of course, within this framework, any hint at weighty topics is going to seem overreaching, yet I feel that "V For Vendetta" succeeds because of the times we live in. "V" draws now overt parrallels to any actual events in the contemporary world (the graphic novel was a comment on the Thatcherism of the early eighties) and I think its power lies in not drawing those parrallels. The audience is left to assess where and how they feel they fit into the world of "V" and the film manages to draw out the human consciousness and conscience quite effectively.

I am not going to dismiss this film out of hand because it stumbles a little in the beginning. Nor will I dismiss it because its gait is unsteady for most of its running time because when it hits its stride and finds its rhythm it really carried me along with it. This film prods the mind without telling the audience what to think. I respect that and I hope more people can overstep the critics so that they too can make up their own minds.

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At 12:16 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Thanks for the review Mike - I can't wait to see it. I know Moore has distanced himself from the film, and I'm sure that in places the adaptation from the graphic novel will have me grinding my teeth, but even so, this film has been on my must-see list ever sicne I heard about it's adaptation-in-progress.

"Her name is anarchy, and she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did."

At 9:09 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I am interested on hearing your take on it Richard seeing as you love the novel so.

I am very keen to read it myself now, well, more keen anyway.

At 5:49 pm, Blogger richardwatts said...

Ok, I saw the film this morning at a media preview. Sadly it abandons some of the most important themes of the graphic novel, which is in effect an exploration of anarchist theory through word and deed; V becomes a generic revolutionary rather than an anarchist (the closing scenes of the film, involving masks en-masse, are one of the most depressing manifestations of this lack of understanding of what anarchy is all about, IMO). That said, it's one of the better adaptations of a graphic novel in recent years, and managed to be both thrilling and moving (tho not at the same time!).

Mike, do you think some elements of the conservative UK media are just uncomfortable with the idea of a terrorist hero so soon after the Underground was bombed?

At 9:51 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I thought as much. That was Moore's complaint also. I really really really have to read the novel because I find the idea intriguing.

As for the "terrorist hero" thing. I think it is a silly semantic argument that is being pressed to the fore because of the times we live in.

Let's face it, here we have a vigilante fighting against an obviously corrupt totalitarian state. Our history and our literature is littered with examples of this, only previously they were called "freedom fighters". Robin Hood, anyone?

Personally I find the fact that the media and possibly the public consciousness now views this dynamic in this way scarier than the "terrorism" of the film.

As for the critics, I am not sure that is where the dislike stems from. Rather they have taken issue with the psuedo-Britishness of the film. The overstated "bloody"-ness of it all (and the "eggie in the basket"). It is the same problem Woody came up against in Match Point.

At 12:36 pm, Anonymous patrick said...

watched V for Vendetta recently, good effects, they packed a lot of a character into a man wearing a mask.... then again, maybe he was more than a man in a mask...


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Saturday, March 18, 2006

The end of the world is nigh! Actually, the end of a world that has Alias in it is nigh and that is pretty much the same thing. The last eight episodes kick off in a months time. In the meantime you can sit back and enjoy the blooper reel from season four (careful if you haven't seen it yet).

Jennifer Garner is such a dork and Marshall has a potty mouth. It is fun watching the characters of the show break out of character, especially Jack. What will we do without them?

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At 4:34 pm, Anonymous stubuu said...

what will we do without them? NOT follow jennifer g (much as i lover 'er) as she enters big screen world, that's for sure! LOL


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Aw, Gael Garcia Bernal Is Sleeping...

Over at Twitch they have posted a snippet of Michel Gondry's new flick, "The Science Of Sleep".

Hmmm, I am not sure. This one looks a little more like "Human Nature" than "Eternal Sunshine..." And this time he is out on his own and not working off a Kauffman script.

Then it has got Gael in it. I'm putting this in the "how-the-fuck-would-I-know-we'll-have-to-wait-and-see-and-stop-pressing-me-for-opinions-you-annoying-little-tick" basket.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Celebration: 100th Post!!!

Yes that is right: 100 little portions of my time wasted entertaining you miserable fucks!

No, seriously. I just wanted to take a moment to let you all know that even though I am having a wonderful time over here, I miss you all terribly and can't wait to see you all when you come and visit. And no, I haven't found a job yet but I did get an email requesting I ring someone on Monday about a position. It is not a job but it is my first peek of any success so it has bolstered me a little.

To celebrate this monumentously trivial occasion, here is a photo of me taken last night. It is not very flattering (but then I am wearing a tea cozy and standing next to a gorgeous pseudo-blonde from Horsham):

So, love to you all. Thanks so much to everyone who comments on the blog. It does cheer me up so and reminds me that there is a great group of friends out there sharing a whole lotta lovin'.

Don: Miss you bundles but let's face it, we'll probably see each other just as much anyway! The speakers still haven't arrived but don't stress, they are probably just imprisoned by the cloud faeries.

Nerida: Ditto, minus the speaker comments. Hope Sweden/Switzerland goes well for you. Call me when you get in.

Neale: When we are both destitute can we live on the streets together?

Tristan: Movin' on up! Good to hear BrizVegas is finally paying off!

Shamil: I won't say anything because you know I won't get a word in edgeways. I do miss our lunches! Why don't you fly over some time next week and we'll dine (THAT WAS A JOKE!!! IF YOU END UP HERE I WILL CASTRATE YOU!!!)

Chris: I didn't get locked up. Lucky me! Hope your man is still the shit! Did you get into those Argonauts?

Kate and Skye: You know a wedding will bring me back don't you!

Jim and Byron: You know a wedding will bring me back don't you, either that or do it over here. Hell a good game of UNO will bring me back! As long as Paul comes along (and sings... and farts in our faces!) Thanks for those letters Jim. Don't worry about the rest. I think most of them are redirected, feed the rest to Romy.

Tania: I am awaiting that phone call when you arrive in England. Hope you are enjoying your bonus time with Alex!

Rick and JP: Hurry up!

Glen: We've just corresponed so you're up to speed.

Stu: I am waiting for a first look at your manuscript. Remember, Ibiza awaits us!

Sam: I've said it all before! Remember, I'll always pick up the phone. Unless my hands are cut off!

Chrissie: You would not believe it. We are now living with your long lost twin sister. I kid you not. Her name is Angela and she is from Perth (which we all know is where Tasmania broke off from) and chatting with her is seriously like a chat with you, or an argument.

Richard: Do you want to do a movie this weekend?

Ben: I don't even know your email address anymore. It had something to do with astroboy so I'll try to guess. If anyone knows it can you give Mr Davey a heads up. Hope everything is going well. You are the man! Fight the good fight.

Dani: Has your man arrived yet? How's the new place treating you. And the new class. Oh, how our roles are reversed.

Ondine and Brad: Are you out of bed yet, Ondine? I know I am crap at emails but I will write you soon. Hell I might even call. And the same goes for you. If you get married I'll come and throw rice on ya. Or at least I'll try.

Lucy: It was great seeing you (I think everyone who saw the photos agrees!) Let me know how Sigur Ros go! Send me photos of your mud-brick house. You'll have to send me Anouska's email address, oh, and those photos.

Gizzelle: I have lost your address again. You know I need to tattoo it on my forearm. How's the crew. I hope the new addition is pottering along well. You need to come over here to see some of these bands.

Shel: Save, save, save!

Imo: Where are those postcards? I know you are not saving up for the stamps!

Mum, Dad, Kate, Paul, Hayley and Max: I'll call!

Everyone over in London... you get to share the love in a physical way... Wooooaaahhhh! (there is a birthday/housewarming coming up so prepare yourselves!)

I know there are people I have missed so a great big generic hug goes out to you all.


At 2:37 am, Anonymous Angela said...

I don't argue, Mike. I discuss. Passionately.

At 2:48 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Well, we'll see about that when you get home, young lady!!!

I have already set up the kickboxing ring in the reception!

At 2:49 am, Blogger Donald said...

Congratulations on your blogging century Mikey, and miss you too. Even though Perth is a long way from anywhere, it does feel like you are further away :(

Anyhoo, I am concerned about the long-delayed arrival of your speakers, so I will get my people on to it.

And if there are any problems, I will go postal on their asses, I swear.

Lots of lovely love,
D x

At 2:58 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Nah, don't stress yourself about it. Really. They will show up soon I am sure.

If they don't, well, it's only stuff (yeah, I know. I am feeling eloquent today!)

At 3:26 am, Blogger richardwatts said...

sure - got a movie in mind?

At 8:28 pm, Anonymous belial said...

I am sure that we can find a nice little storm drain together somewhere in the country. I will start saving the cardboard.

Happy 100th.

At 8:49 pm, Blogger lucy said...

That sexy photo of you is on its way, Mikey Moo. I am very slow getting organised because I'm having too much fun burning in the sun. Promise soon, along with the moola I owe you. Saw Bic Runga the other night. Kat managed to do my head in again. Again!!! Taking refuge in the Warrandyte cave. Hope to venture out again one day ...

At 1:24 pm, Blogger skye and kate said...

Hey there beautiful boy,
We haven't set a date yet, we'll be sending a wee plane over to pick up all you lot in the UK when we do!
Love you and miss you. Happy 100th. xoxoxoxoxoxo

At 4:10 pm, Anonymous Shamil said...

Congratulations Michael. Love the new background BTW. I have decided to celebrate with a crashing hangover (somehow yesterday's lunch finished up at 3am). Be nice to the English sahibs.

At 10:59 am, Blogger Byron said...

So THIS is a blog! And I thought all this time it was a blonde dog. I miss you too Mipe.

At 11:07 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Aw, thank you Myron. I miss you too! And your jokes...

At 4:36 pm, Anonymous s said...

congratulations! & much missing!
love. xx

At 4:36 pm, Anonymous stubuu said...

congratulation! missing! love! xx

At 9:03 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Tanks you guys.

Enough already!


At 12:55 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nerida - Mr Scott, Sweden/Switzerland was wunderbar, I think I consumed about 5 kilos of cheese in various states of viscoity (the cheese not me). I will ring you, I miss you.

At 2:06 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

But did you drop the bread?


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Oh How The "Mighty" Have Fallen!

Do you recognise this man who popped on Sean Cody's "gay-for-pay" website?

It seems that young Red's acting career has hit a slow patch and nobody has had the heart to let the fans know on his imdb message board. Go on, I dare ya!

For a rundown on the rest of the crew check out

Now what is The Saddle Club up to?

(via Fleshbot)



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March Of The Penguins (or, Hey, where did the laugh track go?)

Last night I have uncovered the Oscar travesty that Annie Proulx should really be up in arms about. "March Of The Penguins", the documentary feature that took home this year's Academy Award is actually just a throwback to Suzanna Carr's "World Around Us".

Sure it is interesting, beautiful and at times moving. But it is still just a nature documentary. The crew endured the coldest, driest place on Earth to film it... So!?! It is still just a nature documentary.

Add to that, the original movie had crappy French comedy voices and a notoriously poor soundtrack. The Oscar went to a patch up job. Ship in Morgan Freeman, take out the laugh track, give it some reputable (if not equally dull) music and voila... Winner!

I can't really see anything to distinguish this film from the other nature documentaries that feature on our television screens. The film is heavy-handedly edited to manufacture tense moment; the predatory attacks of leopard seals scream "hack job". David Attenborough's Planet Earth, which is playing on the BBC at the moment, has far more artistic integrity.

I bet the other nominated documentary film makers have penned their arguments much better than I. It is a pity they will never get the exposure they rightfully deserve. Bah!

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At 2:15 am, Anonymous James Offer said...

I actually heard Annie Proux saying that the emotions portrayed by the sheep in Brokeback Mountain were a lot more believable than the penguins in this movie.

I also reiterate my thought that Nine Songs needed penguins. Or, perhaps, March of the Penguins needed some cut scenes at the Brixton Academy.

I'm all confused now.

At 2:45 am, Blogger Donald said...

The fact that the incredible "Murderball" was beaten by this film was the second-biggest disappointment of "Black Sunday", or the "night of the handing out of those shiny little men about which I will no longer speak"...until same time next year.

Penguins shmenguins, wheelchair rugby players can kick their frozen little asses into a warmer climate.

At 2:52 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I heard that "Murderball" was all CGI anyway!


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Thursday, March 16, 2006

9 Songs (or, Music, Fucking, Music, Fucking...)

I don't know why I missed this one in the cinemas. Like I said before, Winterbottom is one of my favourite directors and, let's face it, the film was controversial and if that is not an endorsement to see it then what is?

Yes, 9 Songs is THAT film. The one with the real sex... and the music... and little else (except for some sweeping shots of Antarctica).

I'd give you a rundown of the plot but that is pretty much it. Guy meets girl at a live gig, they go home and fuck, rinse and repeat.

There are snippets of their life in between the music and the fucking but not very much. And yet, within this framework the film is quite successful in creating an image of these characters and the way sex can mark, dominate and curdle a relationship. 9 Songs lets you into the domestic sex life of two people. For all its banality it is quite mesmerising. At times erotic, at times quite the opposite. It is a credit to Winterbottom that the film, for all its "real" rooting, stays well clear of porn. Something I found entirely refreshing.

And the music is excellent too. Elbow, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand. The line-up plays like a who's who of British music. Unfortunately the songs don't overtly (or even subtly) tie in with the themes of the film or its narrative but they are great to watch nonetheless. Ironically, the most obscene moment of the film comes when we are put through a four minute rendition of "You Were The Last High" by the Dandy Warhols. I now have absoutely no desire to see these guys live. They may as well be asleep on stage and singing into Fischer Price microphones.

In the end 9 Songs won't be remembered for its characters or its story and yet it is a landmark film in the way that it deals with real sex in a real and truthful way. It isn't poetry, unless you see life as poetry, then...

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At 4:33 pm, Anonymous stubuu said...

a who's who of british music, eh?? then where's the cure??!!


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Toilets and Toilet Humour

I am a little late with this one due to my brief flirtation with depression yesterday. On Tuesday night Rog, Paul and I popped into Barcode in Soho to be amused, bemused and bewildered by the stand-up comedians (and comediennes) at Comedy Camp.

You will have to excuse me because I don't remember any of the comics' names but they were all very funny. The last guy was Canadian and he definitely had a screw loose. This is the photo he took of himself after he snatched my camera from my fingers.

It is not very flattering but at least he doesn't have his t-shirt pulled over his head and his arse crack hanging out like he did for the majority of his set. Hat's off to him though, he was fucking hilarious.

In other news, earlier that night we were eating in a nearby ramen house and I decided I needed to "insert euphemism for urinating here". Halfway through my visit to the toilet, still marvelling at the wonderfully simple effect they had managed with the paintwork, I looked down at the urinal.

Immediately I set to marvelling at the ingenious design of their urinals. They had a sink-like drain and even had taps on the side and a soap dispenser above. It wasn't until I was captivated by the thought that they had designed these urinals to double as wash-basins that I realised how wrong I may have been. It wasn't until I turned and saw the mundane, stock-standard issue urinals behind me that I knew how wrong I definitely was.


In my defense, they were extremely low basins. And I wasn't even drunk.

I will not make that mistake again and I will be back. The food was fantastic and the comedy will certainly be a regular feature of my London nights. Next week is some chick from Full Frontal and the week after is Hattie Hayridge from Red Dwarf.

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Isaac Hayes Brings Xenu To The Masses

Isaac Hayes quitting South Park may bring more people to the "Church" of Scientology. Well it will if I have anything to do with it. That is right, I am here to spread the word. Paul and I were chatting about Isaac's beef when we visited Comedy Camp the other night and it was then that Paul recounted the funniest story that was to be had all evening (actually it wasn't, the comedy was fucking hilarious but it certainly was a rip-roaring yarn!)

A cursory glance at the net has indeed brought this story to light and I now present it to you thanks to
"Once upon a time (75 million years ago to be more precise) there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu. Xenu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.

Now Xenu had a problem. All of the 76 planets he controlled were overpopulated. Each planet had on average 178 billion people. He wanted to get rid of all the overpopulation so he had a plan.

Xenu took over complete control with the help of renegades to defeat the good people and the Loyal Officers. Then with the help of psychiatrists he called in billions of people for income tax inspections where they were instead given injections of alcohol and glycol mixed to paralyse them. Then they were put into space planes that looked exactly like DC8s (except they had rocket motors instead of propellers).

These DC8 space planes then flew to planet Earth where the paralysed people were stacked around the bases of volcanoes in their hundreds of billions. When they had finished stacking them around then H-bombs were lowered into the volcanoes. Xenu then detonated all the H-bombs at the same time and everyone was killed.

The story doesn't end there though. Since everyone has a soul (called a "thetan" in this story) then you have to trick souls into not coming back again. So while the hundreds of billions of souls were being blown around by the nuclear winds he had special electronic traps that caught all the souls in electronic beams (the electronic beams were sticky like fly-paper).

After he had captured all these souls he had them packed into boxes and taken to a few huge cinemas. There all the souls had to spend days watching special 3D motion pictures that told them what life should be like and many confusing things. In this film they were shown false pictures and told they were God, The Devil and Christ. In the story this process is called "implanting".

When the films ended and the souls left the cinema these souls started to stick together because since they had all seen the same film they thought they were the same people. They clustered in groups of a few thousand. Now because there were only a few living bodies left they stayed as clusters and inhabited these bodies.

As for Xenu, the Loyal Officers finally overthrew him and they locked him away in a mountain on one of the planets. He is kept in by a force-field powered by an eternal battery and Xenu is still alive today."
If you skimmed through all that or you couldn't be bothered reading it thenSouth Park's version is a pretty good mock-up and quite true to the original.

Scientologist of course say that this story has been taken out of context. I am sure if you give them enough money they will give you the true scope of Xenu's machinations. Try it today!

Thanks go out to BeltzaScene2 for the great image at the top of the post. Word!)

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Cartoons, Comics and Arch Art Movies

Just a few movie tidbits for you:

New "Cars" poster is out. Like I said before, this film wasn't exciting me until recently. Now as it is drawing to completion it is starting to look ace.

Check out how the rock formations look like the rear ends of Caddilacs. Brrrooom!

(via Ain't It Cool)

Alan Moore, author of the graphic novel "V For Vendetta" talks to The Beat about his trials and tribulations with DC Comics.
"Well, I don't own the baby anymore, Heidi! The baby is one I put a great deal of love into, a great deal of passion and then during a drunken night it turned out that I'd sold it to the gypsies and they had turned out my baby into a life of prostitution."
He certainly comes across as a man who is dedicated to his artistic vision.

I really have to read this novel. The movie comes out tomorrow so I doubt I will knock it off before then. I would really like to see if Moore's refusal to endorse the film has any grounding or if he is just too scarred after Hollywood bastardised "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen".

(via Boing Boing)

Finally, it is time to don your black berets and light those cigarettes! Apple have put up the trailer for Matthew Barney's latest piece of art/film/instillation/fuck, "Drawing Restraint 9". This time it has his consort/life-partner/wife/co-inhabitant/fuck provides the soundrack.

The film has something to do with a huge Vaseline sculpture and a ship. Hmmm... What did you expect. His last cinematic outing was a quintet of films that symbolically documented the descent of the testicles!

Crazy arse images and ear noodling music... yep, it looks and sounds just like any other Björk video.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

London's Not Calling

I am starting to get a little down about the whole job search thing. There seems to be very little space to flex over here if you don't have any experience. I feel like I am eighteen again, trying to chip my way into the workforce. The whole catch 22 of getting experience if every position calls for experience. Even the temping agencies require experience.

I know deep down that as soon as I get my foot in the door there will be opportunities to run free but at the moment the doors do not seem very foot friendly.


At 12:18 am, Blogger Donald said...

Hang in there Mike, I'm sure something will come up. I think it's a matter of persistence and luck, so all the best.
Keep your chin up, mister.
D x

At 2:56 am, Anonymous belial said...

I agree with Donald in this instance... even if I can not seem to agree with his film reviews :)

Sometime soon someone will give you a break... I keep telling myself that too.

In the meantime, have you considered steel-capped boots?

At 4:03 pm, Blogger stuboo said...

they're both right, meester! simply means the right thing has not come along... but it will! sx


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Monday, March 13, 2006

Brad Bird Steps Into The Kitchen At "The House Of Mouse"

Brad Bird, voice of Edna Mode, oh, and the mastermind behind the animation masterpieces "The Iron Giant" and "The Incredibles" is taking over control of Pixar's "Ratatouille" from director Jan Pinkava.

The details are scant but apparently the announcement was made at the weekend Disney stockholders meeting. The incredients? A rat, a Parisian restaruant and an excentric chef. I can't wait to see what he boils up. It is a bit dicey that Brad is taking over an existing project, given that he previous films were the labour of love variety, but he is such a master storyteller that I am sure he will pull off something brilliant.

Let's face it, Lasseter did it when he took over the Toy Story sequel.

If you haven't seen the new trailer for "Cars" you really should. I was not too excited about this one but now I am. Pixar rocks!

Thanks again to Ain't It Cool who put me in touch with Brad in the first place.

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At 11:22 pm, Blogger Donald said...

I will be happy with nothing less than "Edna" a bio-pic in the grand tradition of "Ghandi", "Ali" and "Ray".


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When Writers Attack!

The bitter pill that was Brokeback's loss at the Academy Awards last week continues to be firmly lodged in many a movie goer's throat. It seems Annie Proulx needs a good Heimlich Maneuver performed on her.

The Guardian has published "Blood On The Red Carpet", Annie's personal account of the evening.

She froths:
"The people connected with Brokeback Mountain, including me, hoped that, having been nominated for eight Academy awards, it would get Best Picture as it had at the funny, lively Independent Spirit awards the day before. (If you are looking for smart judging based on merit, skip the Academy Awards next year and pay attention to the Independent Spirit choices.) We should have known conservative heffalump academy voters would have rather different ideas of what was stirring contemporary culture."
Much of what Annie says may well be true. Does that amount to "homophobia"? There is a lot of talk about how many of the Academy members refused to see the film. Sure that seems like "homophobia". Given the mountain of awards the film had already garnered it was improbable that it couldn't reach the little golden man. But does the loss justify the outcry that is flooding the net?

It seems the film has become a catalyst for some pretty nasty debate. BrokebackBlokes posts David Poland's response to Annie's rant. He says:
"...this is the kind of blind anger and myopia that has caused hatred of the gay, the black, the religious other, etc. Ms. Proulx has, in this moment, become that which she beheld. And the world is a little uglier for it."
While there are a million and one things wrong with his comment (cause, anyone?), there is a point buried deep in there. Brokeback meant a lot to many gay people but let's face it, it spoke more to gay people than it did to the rest of the community; we could relate more to it. But we have to be open to the idea that the film didn't work for everyone in the same way. What I have noticed in my discussions of the Academy's decision (with punters who run the gammit of the Kinsey scale) is that a good deal of people agree with the decision or in the very least agree that Brokeback didn't deserve the nod.

If you believe the "snub" was down to homophobia (and I do believe a case can be made given the awards history) then get angry. But channel this anger towards more consequential protests than having a hissy fit about a movie. Berating Crash and Hollywood at large is not going to change anything and may merely cement what people think is important to the gay community.

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At 10:50 pm, Blogger Donald said...

Personally, I didn't think that Proulx's piece was very much of a rant at all, but that's my opinion, and as she says: "play it where it lays". I think she was simply expressing her honest observations about the entire event (not merely centred on Brokeback's loss).

Consequently, I think that David Poland's response is a little extreme, to say the least, and his arguments unpersuasive.

Determining the merit of a work of art is of course, inherently subjective, and all I can say is that I thought every other nominated film was more deserving than "Crash" to win best picture.

Of course I wanted Brokeback to win, but I should acknowledge that it is hard for me to judge Bokeback on its own, separate from the short story I fell in love with long before I heard about the movie. For me, the film created (and re-created) the imagined characters, settings and the drama of the story so elegantly, it seemed akin to alchemy. How I would feel without first having read the story, I will never know.

So that's my approach, and I would stop there...were it were not for the track-record of consensus regarding Brokeback's quality of craft. It was not just a popular favourite, and not simply a darling of the critics. So what explanation for the "snub" (and even Jack Nicholson couldn't act his way out of noticing that it was indeed, a snub) remains?

Who knows? I am inclined to think homophobia, or perhaps even worse: the attitude of people not ordinarily homophobic, who fear being judged - God forbid - as homophilic. It seems to me as if the voters either deliberately, or unconsciously express the sentiment: "We'll tolerate the fags, but there's no way in hell we're going to been seen celebrating them."

Despite its cultural influence, despite its current place in the zeitgeist, despite its becoming a 'positon' to rally behind or against, Brokeback remains, ultimately, just a film. So I think we need to get on with it. We can't fix it, so we've got to stand it. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself)

Besides, there are a million other stories waiting to be told.

As for channelling a positive response, the trade-paper ad placed in the Hollywood Reporter from the UltimateBrokeback forum expressed it nicely, I think. Just saying "thank you" is a wonderful thing.

At 1:57 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

Look, I agree with everything Proulx says within her commentary. Yet within the framework of a competition, which is essentially what the awards are, "playing it where it lays" and "sour grapes" are pretty much the same thing. I feel she would have done better to express her ideas in some other way. At the very least would have placed her on steadier footing.

There were some interesting statistics I read somwhere (but couldn't find this morning) on how Brokeback was the first film win x, y and z and not O. The article listed about five different "firsts" based awards history.

Yeah I think that homophobia affected the decision on some level. But I also believe that, as you say, the film's cultural importance lives on and other stories will be "greenlit" because of it.

I think complaining about the loss and crying foul makes a section of the gay community look like zealots.

At 10:37 am, Blogger stuboo said...

personally, i didn't see BM as a gay film. i thought it's 'love' trancended both sexuality & gender. if anything i saw it as a film about love between men: more specifically between two men erring towards bisexuality or even heterosexuality. it's neither exclusively a film about homo nor hetero sexuality... just, simply, about the purest form of love.

At 12:59 pm, Blogger Donald said...

Stu, you should check out Daniel Mendelsohn's article on Brokeback in the New York Review of Books. He argues that the film "must be seen as a specifically gay tragedy". His arguments seem fairly convincing to me, but let us know what you think.

At 8:37 pm, Anonymous belial said...

Well, not that I have seen any of the other best picture contenders, but I thought brokeback mountain was dull and wooden. I failed to empathise with any of the characters except in two scenes; felt that there was absolutely no chemistry between Jake & Heath and generally considered the film to be an over-hyped period piece.

There. I understand that most of you loved it, but I didn't. I don't think is is necessary to go looking for an ulterior reason that it didn't win. The recriminations and counter-arguments following the decision are pointless sniping.

Who really looks to the academy anyway for a balanced viewpoint on merit?

At 9:23 pm, Blogger Donald said...

This from a man who thought "Date Movie" was "hilarious".

Each to his own, I guess.


At 9:50 pm, Blogger Donald said...


Sorry Belial, on reflection I remember that you didn't describe it as "hialrious".

You described it as "brilliant".

My apologies.

At 10:20 pm, Blogger Mike Scott said...


At 2:49 am, Anonymous belial said...

I seem to recall describing the Date Movie as both brilliant and hilarious. No need to correct yourself.

Happily, the Date Movie was nothing less than it promised to be: unadulterated cheese... with a bit of bestial necrophilia thrown in for good measure (go kitty!).

It didn't promise love, emotional anguish, repression and loss ... and then fail to deliver a believable rendition of any of them. It didn't take a powerful story and emasculate it.

I guess my hopes for bareback mountain were just too high. I had none for the Date Movie, and they were not disappointed.

At 10:58 am, Blogger Donald said...

Fair enough.

At 1:01 am, Anonymous James Offer said...

I want to hear Annie Proux's reaction if Date Movie had have won Best Picture over Broke Back Mountain...

At 1:23 am, Blogger Mike Scott said...

I want to hear the religious right's reaction if Date Movie won over Brokeback!

Everyone meet James, he is our new housemate. James meet everyone... most of them are from Perth too!


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You Gotta Have A Gimmick

In this day and age of instant celebrity it is nice to know that true talent can win out in the end. Meet The Dormitory Boys, two guys from China who have managed to plug a hitherto unseen gap in the blogosphere: crazy ass lip-synching.

In their own words:
Ok, first we have to let you know that our english is not that good, but we are gona do our best. At this time we can't give details about ourselves, except we like to lip sing and plan to make it as big as Elvis!
Well, they are certainly getting their. In the last six months they have managed to build such a following on the Internet that their fame is spilling into the mainstream.

You can pop over to their site to see their other vids or even get involved and vote on their next material.

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Venus Overlooks St Patrick's Day

Travelled into Trafalgar Square today to check out the St Patrick's Day parade. We ended up missing it because one of the helpful information type people told us it would arrive in the square at 2 o'clock. So very helpful!

We went off to have lunch only to be told as we were ordering that the parade had actually just finished.

Murphy's Law I suppose.

We went back to have a look. It was busy and there was some Irish music playing but we felt a little deflated so we went home.

On a more interesting note, the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square has been filled with this wonderful statue, Alison Lapper Pregnant by Marc Quinn. When I first saw it when I was here last year I thought it was a brilliant expression of life, age and beauty. Little did I know that the statue is far from symbolic, it was actually modelled on a real woman who was born without arms and truncated legs.

Alison Lapper's story is quite amazing. You don't need to hear me blather on about it; there is an extract of her life in her own word over at The Guardian's site. Nowadays, inspired by the Venus de Milo, Alison uses photography and her body to create artworks exploring the notion of beauty.

All in all a worthy guardian of London's heart. Oh, and here is a pic of the green fountains.

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At 11:54 am, Blogger Donald said...

I know there is a time difference over your way and all, but isn't St Paddy's 17th March?


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