Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Twisted meanings
Found at Chrisonomicon. Fantastic things from a fantastic blogger. Anyone know of any more examples of this?
An Adult Fairytale

Thursday, November 21, 2002

von Hagens still faces arrest
Professor Gunther von Hagens, who last night carried out the first public autopsy in the UK for 170 years (right), is today the subject of a discussion which could end with his arrest. Medical experts are to discuss the nature of the autopsy, and will pass a file to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will then decide if von Hagens has a case to answer. If he is found guilty of breaching the Anatomy Act, he could be jailed.

I think this has all been blown a bit out of proportion. Although there has been a lot of media attention (The Times - Editorial / The Guardian - Leader) most of it has concentrated on whether or not he was right or wrong to carry it out. Surely the people who paid to watch can be given that task. Yes, it's wrong in law. But *should* it be? That's the question the papers should be asking - and making an attempt to answer. Certainly, a member of a government medical ethics committee who was present at the autopsy, made encouraging noises on the principle of the thing. Is it a circus? That's hypothetical anyway. It certainly wasn't conducted as one.

Another outdated institution has been fucked with, as the UK's Princess Royal is fined for letting her mutt run riot and attack 2 kids. And finally, SpongeBob SquarePants has become a gay icon.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002

UK sees first public autopsy for 170 years
See the earlier post, about Gunther von Hagens. Despite a police presence, his autopsy was carried out as planned. Police sirens wailed towards Brick Lane, London, about 20 minutes before the procedure was due to start, raising fears of an arrest. In the end, however, it went ahead. The BBC again:

"There were gasps from the audience as he cut into the head of the body and sawed through the skull with a hacksaw. Accountant Louise Cotton, 40, said: 'I think it's absolutely fascinating. I've never seen anything like it before, it's just amazing.' Medical student Cristina Koppel, a fourth year student at Imperial College in London, said: 'I was a bit surprised by the speed of it all but there is no delicate way of doing this with finesse.' A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said anatomy professors would watch the autopsy to check if it breached the law but would not say if the professor would face arrest."
First public autopsy since 1800s is planned
Gunther von Hagens and plastinate
Professor Gunther von Hagens, creator of plastination and the controversial Body Worlds exhibition, in which flayed human corpses are shown, plans to conduct a public autopsy on the night of the 20th of November 2002, in the centre of London.

But as the BBC reports, public autopsies are illegal in this country, and Prof. von Hagens may be arrested before he makes the first incision.

If you have a TV, the UK's Channel 4 plans to film the procedure when it takes place (or, more likely, von Hagens' arrest) and televise it with a debate at 11.45pm on the same day.

"There is not a single sound reason why anatomical dissections, as commonly experienced by medical students during their studies, should continue to remain the private domain of medical professionals. In a liberal democracy with an open society, excluding medical laypersons from anatomy can no longer be justified. The possibility of attending dissections that are open to the public should be an unqualified right of every citizen of legal age, if spatial and personnel-related circumstances permit." (Body Worlds website)

Thoughts, anyone?

Monday, November 18, 2002

Ahhh. *sigh*

(From Minizen)

The Queen, and Elizabeth Windsor at the state opening of Parliament earlier this month. Yeah, like the tiara, Phil. Did your wife choose it specially? (Pic captured from BBC News.)

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Reading Poems
Famous poets reading their own work. I've only been really impressed with one poet's reading of their own work, and that's been Seamus Heaney. He was a good reader because he could actually speak the lines right through your ears into your emotions. He was gently animated.

Listening to some of the poets who make it into this webpage, however (and a lot more who haven't for copyright reasons), I often wish that more poets or novelists - or writers generally! - would recognise that they're not all great, or even passable, at reading their own work aloud. Ali Smith writes spare and superbly crafted fiction, but she's hopeless at reading it out.

Whereas, at a reading a few years ago, yours truly got applauded loudly for reading his own work! Now, what exactly *is* it about hearing a writer read their own work, even though they might do it really badly? They don't add anything to the experience. You hear the same words and the same sentences, and the writer simply cannot be trusted to illuminate and nuance. So why do people part with the money?

My own bet, even though I write myself, is that people just want to be able to say they heard such-and-such reading once. Sort of interesting conversation-material, but hardly food for the soul.

Monday, November 11, 2002

*****Moving ones. The latest two I've loved have been One Hour Photo and 28 Days Later... One Hour Photo has at its centre a solid, terrifyingly quiet Robin Williams who "gives an eerily still, contained performance as Sy, the put-upon express photo clerk in his vivid white shirt and retina-piercingly blue waistcoat. These are colours that match the strip-lit white of the surreally enormous discount store where he works, the police interview suite where he winds up, and indeed his own pallid skin tones - an albino in everything but his eyes", according to the Guardian review.
Cillian. Yum.
28 Days Later..., by contrast, is a film which is cinematically full. It lacks the washed-out emptiness of the above. But it's so fcking terrifying when nothing much is happening onscreen. The opening 20 minutes or so will either do nothing for you, or give you the feeling that the world you knew has ended, just like that, and you'd quite like to cry. Plus, the divine Cillian Murphy (pictured) has a lead role, along with Christopher Eccleston, who brings his usual bad-man-with-good-heart into frame.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Poles Apart
But there's only one South Pole, I hear you say. Haha. Wrong!
And I didn't know that so many countries think they own the place!

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

New Arrival in London!
My uni friend 'Justin' has arrived in London, people! And he's feeling a bit, well, washed-up and lonely after having moved down from Edinburgh. So I'm asking all my friends in the city to take a look at him here and if you like what you see (who wouldn't?) then write to him and take him out for a coffee or a drink or something. And be nice. Offenders will be prosecuted!
Mystery Bunny
Hmm. Seems I've a mustery admirer somewhere in Lanarkshire. I got 2 framed urban photos and a fluffy bunny (below) in the post today from someone who didn't include a note or a name. Weird. They did include their address though. I'm trying to figure out what to do. Should I write back? Should I try to find out who they are using more covert methods? Tell me, people.
He's a mystery.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Not quite angels on horseback...
"The Russians are wrapping the bodies of the terrorists killed in last week's siege of a Moscow theatre in pig skin in order to deter future attacks by potential Islamic fighters. The idea, according to the newspaper Moskovski Komsomol, is to turn the terrorists' own beliefs against them. While jihad martyrs believe they ascend immediately to heaven upon fulfilling their duty, Islam regards the pig as unclean. Corpses wrapped in pig skin, the Russians say, will therefore be barred from entering heaven for eternity." -- from Wired

And, hehehe. :o)

Saturday, November 02, 2002

The things we do when unemployed:
1. Don't earn any money
2. Don't get the chance to go out. Ever
3. Have loads of free time
4. After a while, treat that free time as something which will go on, because we also
5. Get used to thinking there isn't going to be a job within the next few weeks, so
6. Make plans for people to visit us, etc. in the future free time

On Thursday, I went for a little chat to Waterstone's who are looking for a goods-in temp around the Xmas period, but starting on Monday. Despite not having heard anything yet, and despite initial doubts about whether or not Jonathan and Mikey will still be able to visit (which they allayed - time off is a virtue), I'm looking forward to getting back into some sort of work. I'm meant to hear something over the weekend - i.e. before the end of tomorrow. If I don't, I'll start thinking, oh, there's another potential job which has turned me down. Dammit.