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Taytoman Agonistes
Sunday, December 28, 2003
Finished William Gerhardie's "Doom", a very strange book that gets stranger as it goes on. Not as purely enjoyable as "Futility", it turns from a comedy of lust and manners and portrait of a Lord Beaverbrook style press baron into an apocalyptic fantasia. I'd recommend it, but probably after reading "Futility"

According the Oxford Book of Days, today is Iowa Admission Day, the King's Birthday in Nepal (still?), and the Feast of the Holy Innocents. It's also the anniversary of the Tay Bridge disaster, immortalised by the great William McGonagall.

The Oxford Book of Days is a near-endless source of browsing pleasure, very very highly recommended. I picked mine up in O Briens in Limerick, possibly the best second hand book store I've ever been to. Certainly, like the Secret Book and Record store and Readers', it has impressively high book-of-interest to trash ratio.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003
An old Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movie, "Sherlock Holmes Faces Death", was on BBC earlier today. Great hammy fun, and I always find the wartime Holmes films - with Holmes and Watson careering around in motor cars, foiling the Nazis - delightfully anachronistic.

Happy Christmas to those who, unlikely as it seems, are reading this.

With typical bloody-mindedness I waded into posting without the Obligatory Mock-Modest Self-Justification. I doubt anyone will be reading this who hasn't been directed to it by myself (i.e. who doesn't already know me) so presumably you have some idea who I am. There are lots of good-sounding reasons why I could suggest the world needs me to start a blog, none of which come near to the real reason - vanity. Having become somewhat addicted to the "blogosphere" it was inevitable that at some stage I would join in myself.

A blog is a sort of public diary, quoth he tendentiously. I promised to myself not to take this too seriously - caveat lector....

Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Something I haven't been able to find any outrage, or even disquiet, about is unfunny political cartoon strip Doonesbury's characterisation of Arnie as "Die Gropenfuhrer" (apologies for inability to reproduce umlaut over the "o" of "grope")

Whatever your opinion of Arnie's political and personal qualities, surely the tone of this caricature - someone of German ancestry can be blithely lampooned with Nazi imagery - is ugly at best and racist at worst?

Newstalk appearance number 3 was broadcast tonight. Discussed "The Miracle of Berne" and "The Champions", two football based films recently shown in the German Film Festival. At some stage I will hopefully do a longer piece on them, the radio item went well, though I still think I talk in a very staccato, stop-start way.

Just browsed the Special Features on The Third Man DVD. Lots of interesting stuff, which avoids the DVD-bonus trap of being either boring or too obvious promotional material. There's two trailers, one from the original release which amusingly has a female voice trying to "sex up" the murky tale of Harry Lime. A lovely archive sequence of Anton Karas strumming that theme. Most entertaining of all is the Lux Radio Theatre Production, completely with charmingly stilted plugs for Lux.

These plugs are hilariously wooden - and yet presumably at the time were seen by some as irritatingly commercial. Advertising has changed spectacularly in the last number of years. One wonders if, say, the current TV ad for the Playstation 2 (with the Shirley Temple song, and the frankly disturbing sight of millions of people piling up on each other) could be transported complete into, say, 1957, what reaction would it cause? Quite aside from the difficulty of explaining what a Playstation is, would the 1957 audience recognise it as something trying to promote a product?

And in 20 or 30 years will our ads look similarly dated?

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