Trolling.



Film Being slightly too old to care at the time, I never did own a troll, the only kind I really encountering as a child being the monstrosity that menaced the three billy goats gruff in a Ladybird book. So the fact of a film based on The Trolls entirely passed me by until this morning when a friend sent me a link to a cover of Lionel Richie's Hello sung by Zooey Deschanel (Spotify).

Like The Lego Movie soundtrack, it's a franchise album which punches well above its weight in talent and material thanks to having Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake as Executive Producers.  Mostly covers of really cool songs, there is some original material including an "I Want" song from Kendrick (Spotify), which has a chorus which sounds like Price Tag and a Millennial Whoop.

Collider has an interview with Justin and Anna about the production process:
"TIMBERLAKE: So, my job for that was just hopefully to put our own spin on it, make it sound unique, and make it sound like it belonged in the scene, much like musical theater, almost. And then, I also wrote four original songs, specifically written for the movie. I’ve never done anything like that, either. Some of the music does sound very ‘70s. Overall, you’ll feel that a lot of the music definitely has a little bit of ‘70s funk to it, so that was definitely an inspiration for “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” as well. You get to see some of the animation and what they’re working on, so you get to see how big a moment is. When you finally get to see where the Bergens live, you hear The Gorillaz. You just want to sonically complement that."
Sadly this film itself looks like a fairly perfunctory quest narrative but you can't have everything.  [Thanks Talia!]

Life Props:
Hillary Clinton Tim Kaine 16 t-shirt.

Politics A friend in the US has been kind enough to send me a Clinton/Kaine 16 campaign t-shirt.  As well as actually wanting to register my support from across the atlantic, it was also prompted by seeing a "Dole/Kemp" t-shirt in a documentary and deciding it might be nice to have a historic or historical item for the future depending on which way the election goes.

You might have noticed me tweet a photograph the first time I wore it.


This was the day I visited the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and although I wasn't unaware enough that it might attract some attention not to include a spare t-shirt in my backpack.  In museum, and entire family passing by me in the railyard at the back kept their eyes fixed on my chest as I walked towards them. There were also comments. One of the invigilators said that she liked the t-shirt and another older woman who'd stood next to me during a presentation explained that she "admired my fashion statement."  Both were American judging by their accents.

In the days I've worn it since, the attention is always there.  The odd glance as I pass by, people reading my chest.  I've been pointed at from a car a few times.  I assume it's because of the t-shirt.  I hope it isn't something else.  Part of me wonders if I should wait until after the election before wearing it again when it becomes a blue t-shirt with words on.  But I genuinely want Clinton to win and wearing the t-shirt is a tiny way of showing that even if it probably has zero chance of changing the minds of any random US tourists who might notice it on their rounds about the city.

Soup Safari #71: Tomato and Pepper at The Bakery.







Lunch. £3.50. The Bakery, Atkinson Art Gallery and Library, Lord St, Southport PR8 1DB. Phone: 01704 533333. Website.

My Favourite Film of 1928.



Film Unlike some directors, and actors, Martin Scorsese is unafraid to give interviews. The IMDb lists three hundred and fifteen appearances by the man as "self" and that probably barely scratches the surface of how many time his opinion's been sought on a range of film related subjects which doesn't include the occasions when he's publicising his latest picture.  Search for him on YouTube and you could spend the next month just watching him talk about this and that and you'd probably come out the other end having had as decent a film education as those of us who went to college to do the same.

All of which is pre-amble to explain that although I have a snatch of an interview with him in my head, I can't remember where he said it.  My guess is it was either during an episode of Mark Cousins's Scene By Scene series or a South Bank Show from roughly the same time, either publicising the release of Kundun or Casino.  Or both.  In other words, I'm paraphrasing a memory which has been lodged in my braincells for a couple of decade but which had a profound effect on my attitude to film going forward.  Yet I can't remember the details of how it happened.  Was he sitting opposing Bragg or Cousins?  Nope, don't know.

He was talking about directing Sharon Stone in Casino and how she was having difficulty getting to grips with her role as hustler and former prostitute who marries Robert De Nero's Casino manager and how his strategy was to ask her to watch La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc and specifically the famous close up of lead actress Renée Jeanne Falconetti in the moment when Joan recants her testimony, which is one of the great masterpiece of silent acting.  Stone's performance is equally extraordinary in different ways and is one of the reason I prefer Casino to Goodfellas (although it's worth adding that I much prefer Martin's non-gangster pictures in general anyway).

But Scorsese's delivery service was more interesting.  Apparently at around that time he was amassing an archive of films for just this occasion, the main plank of which was on VHS, his methodology being to task his assistants with recording as many films as he could from television.  There wasn't much detail about this, that I could remember, but it was so that, if he did want to screen some segment or a whole film for a cast or crew member to prove his point he could just pull it from the shelf.  Note this was just before the advent of DVD and as is still the case now when there's still plenty of material which isn't purchasable.

Many things struck when I heard this.  Firstly how big an archive he must have.  Having collected lots of television on VHS even at that stage and knowing how much room all of those tapes filled in my room, just how did he have the space to put them all?  What about the cataloguing process?  If he's on set and decides that he wants to show Joe Pesci a scene from a William Wyler directed poverty row drama like Dead End, he's going to want that sharpish is everything simply stored in alphabetical order or was there a card catalogue.  How did he know what had been recorded?  Did the interns send him a weekly report?  Did he send them his picks from the newspaper.

But above all it was "that's so cool" and so began my collecting obsession and for the next twenty years as I set about amassing films.  Lots and lots of films.  Certainly more than I'll ever get around to watching.  If you're a long term reader and I mean really long, you'll have read about this when explaining how they're catalogued in 2009 (and yes, I'm still using chronological by year in which they're set) and when there was a near catastrophic disaster, which I explained in the review for the opening of Liverpool Biennial 2010.

Notice this was before I had home broadband and although Lovefilm existed and I was latterly receiving discs from them, like I said, not everything is available for rental plus purchasing can be very expensive.  But charity shops are charity shops and sales are sales and PVRs exist so it's actually relatively easy to amass a collection especially if you're diligent about it and prepared to the put the hours in.  Which I was and have.  It's possible to become very obsessive about collecting.

How often did watch?  Well ... like I said there's only so many hours available in every human life.  Although for a while I'd check the BFI's monthly listing for suggestions as to watch to watch next, utilising the Lovefilm subscription and the collection to simulate their seasons in my own home, obscurity and availability eventually led to this petering out.  Plus I'd have runs of really quite depressing films.

Plus then we did get broadband.  Which begat Lovefilm Instant, what's now Amazon Prime.  And Netflix.  And NowTV.  And mostly lately MUBI.  Catalogues of streamable films mostly in HD, mostly with better sound and picture quality to dvd.  Although there's some seepage, not everything is available all the tome, poor in some areas, there is still more than enough to keep anyone busy.

So lately I've stopped collecting as much.  Been more specific in what I'm looking for.  What's the point in buying all the blockbusters if they're available at the push of a button, especially if they're only going to be watched once?

Has Scorsese done the same?  Does he simply subscribe to the dozens of streaming services available in the US now, which also includes TCM and HBO?

Mores to the point what's happened to all of his VHS tapes?

Liverpool Biennial 2016:
The Walker Art Gallery.


"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace, we've got work to do!"
-- The Doctor, "Survival"
Art Here we are then the final destination for my TARDIS in the official Biennial at the Walker, the final venue for so many of these projects.   As ever the main contribution is the John Moores Painting Prize and as ever I spent a lot of time shaking my head, rolling my eyes, sighing and wondering what the judges were thinking.  After the generous selection of portraits and landscapes and illustrative paintings, in 2016, we're back to swathes of abstraction interspersed with dashes of melancholia and nihilism.  Having come to terms with the fact that I'll never be entirely happy with the selections in these biannual exhibitions and least of all with the chosen winner, let's excavate what I didn't find unattractive.

One of the key connections between many of the works is control and attention to detail.  Gemma Cassey's Halves II (Continuum), the painting I chose for the people's vote, has minutely rendered wavy lines in acrylic so close together that it's almost impossible to see how they might be kept separate.  Not just horizontal; by cross hatching them with vertical lines, she'll able to create two tones intersected in the middle.  It's fascinating.  On a much larger scale but with similar restraint is Alex Rennie's Totem, in which splodges of black paint against a salmon coloured background somehow create a three dimensional space filled with columns with perspective, the seemingly haphazard stroke choices being nothing of the kind.

There are some landscapes.  John Stark's Beasts of England II shows pigs being reared in a wet, muddy field offering an apocalyptic farming vision.  The always good Nicholas Middleton is back with Figures in an Arch, a much smaller, simpler work than usual depicting a group of shabbily dressed people and a chest of drawers on the edge of a darkened tunnel looking into the unknown.  Mandy Payne returns too with another of her paintings of a derelict tower block, No Ball Games Here, an austere image of a concrete balcony over looking more concrete balcony albeit painted in pastel colours.  The overall impression you gain from this collection is far from optimistic.  Gathered together it's entirely apocalyptic.  Thank goodness the Doctor will always be there to save us.

Next Destination:
Everywhere.

Liverpool Biennial 2016:
Mr Chilli Restaurant.



Art "They're on the wall there, there, there, at the end there..." The restaurant worker has obviously had the same conversation with a few people who've wandered through the door asking to see the Biennial pieces. Perhaps she also leads them into the back to the photographs next to entrance to the toilets. She's very patient and I'm slightly embarrassed that having decided to complete the Biennial on this particular day, I don't have time to stop for food.

Elena Narbutaite and Eduardo Costa, Sun Kiss Feline, 1982-2016 originated as a performance/cum fashion shoot in the swimming pool area at the Adelphi Hotel. Utilising designs originally proposed by Costa in the early Eighties, Narbutaite hopes to give the impression of an interspecies transformation as the swimsuit bear leopard and tiger cut-out patterns.  As well as the display at Mr Chilli they've appeared in local fashion magazines.

Part of me wonders if the images would have been more effective as a piece of video art rather than as still images outside of magazines, a couple of the shots feel like still frames from a video piece.  Not a documentary about the making of the photos, there are certainly enough of those in the world, but these images moving, providing a better illustration of the transformation which without the accompanying note isn't obvious from the shots themselves.

As with the display at the Masterchef Restaurant the pictures don't seem out of place in the environment, the restaurant already filled with pictures and menus and advertising, which seems to the point of this strand, placing works in an environment where patrons who might not necessarily visit the Biennial can unexpectedly interact with the festival.  What have patrons to the restaurant made of these images?

Next Destination:
The Walker Art Gallery.

Liverpool Biennial 2016:
143 Granby Street.


"Well, if that's what you want. I mean it's a bit soon... I had so many places I had wanted to take you. The Fifteenth Broken Moon of the Medusa Cascade, the Lightning Skies of Cotter Palluni's World, Diamond Coral Reefs of Kataa Flo Ko... Thank you. Thank you, Donna Noble, it's been brilliant. You've... you've saved my life in so many ways. You're... You're just popping home for a visit, that's what you mean."
-- The Doctor, "The Sontaran Stratagem"
Art The time ship takes its final trip to Toxteth for one of the Monuments of the Future, a stained glass window from artist Arseny Zhilyaev illustrating The Last Planet Parade, the supposed final occasion when a particular concentration of planets and stars appear in the nights sky and viewable from a particular position on Earth and only on a single spot in the universe.

Within the space there's a long apparently biographical note, about how Zhilyaev's interest in space developed from childhood, his father seeing Yuri Gagarin on a visit to Manchester and experiencing his first Planet Parade, something he celebrates every 22 January with a fancy dress party.  As with many of the pieces in this Biennial, the fiction is frictional.

As well as the window, there's a display of news clippings, photographs and books connected to the biographical note, just the sort of literature my Dad kept from his childhood and I grew up reading before I could afford to buy franchise novels.  For the purposes of future historians and people who don't have time to visit the exhibition, here's a bibliography:

ANDERSSON, Poul.  1973.  The Rebel Worlds.  Coronet.

CLARKE, Arthur C.  1975.  The Lion of Comarre & Against The Fall of Night.  Corgi.

CLARKE, Arthur C.  1969.  Voices From The Sky.  Mayflower.

GREENHOUGH, Terry.  1979.  The Wandering Worlds.  New English Library.

MOORE, Patrick.  1978.  The Observer's Book of Astronomy.  F Warne Publishers Ltd.

TUCKER, Wilson.  1971.  The Time Masters.  Signet Books.

TURNELL, Reginald.  1975.  The Observer's Book of Manned Spaceflight.   F Warne Publishers Ltd.

VAN VOGT, A.E., 1973.  Children of Tomorrow.  F Warne Publishers Ltd.

Next Destination:
Mr Chilli Restaurant.

Liverpool Biennial 2016:
ABC Cinema.


"Cut! Cut! Who let those bums in here?"
-- Steinberger P. Green, "The Feast of Steven"
Art In a rare move, I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, the main draw for visiting the ABC Cinema was to view the interior of the building rather than the festival.  In the 90s, my film going was a relay between the Odeon on Lime Street, the 051 Cinema on Mount Pleasant and this edifice.  It's here I saw Wayne's World, Heat, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, It's A Wonderful Life on several occasions and many more.

There's the occasion I attended a viewing of the 15 certificate of The Truth About Cats and Dogs in a screening with several families who'd clearly misunderstood the meaning of the title and somehow didn't leave during the phone masterbation scene.  When I complained to the manager, he too had thought that it was one for the kids "judging by the title".  Or Final Analysis where a friend and I spent the whole screening sat behind two older pupils from our school who were necking.

Twenty years later, I was initially slightly disorientated because the entrance is through the fire door onto Lime Street rather than up the main steps which is how it was accessed in 2008 when it was previously used as the Biennial's visitor centre, back when the festival had such things.  I mentioned that visit on this blog (which includes other cinema going anecdotes -- I wonder what Theresa is doing now).

On entry you're handed a torch by a volunteer because there are occasions when the space is plunged into darkness (see below) but otherwise you have a fair amount of freedom walk around the space where the stalls used to be.  Various artworks and installations have sectioned off the space but it's still possible to work out the geography of how the cinema was set out just before it closed in the late 90s.  The Liverpool Echo has plenty of images, even of spaces inaccessible to the public.

The key headline is that since 2008, when all three screens were intact, the two smaller auditoria have been removed so that the space has been returned to how it must have been when the cinema was originally built and it was quite natural for thousands of people to share the big screen experience.  What was the screen one (in my day) is back to being a currently inaccessible balcony and those smaller screens are now clearly where the stalls used to be.

Turning a corner reveals the old foyer, and I stood for a minute remembering where the original ticket office would have been and the refreshment stand.  As far as I can remember, by the time it closed the ABC still hadn't installed any kind of electronic ticketing so the hundreds of people piling in would still have been issued with a relatively primitive slip of the kind which served perfectly well for decades before box offices and refreshment stand were combined in multiplexes.

In a cycle of about fifteen minutes the space is plunged into darkness (hence the torches) and we're invited to sit in on of the collapsable chairs distributed across the front of the stalls to watch a piece of video art projected on a screen atop the stage in a decent approximation of the Picturehouse adverts featuring the music of Daniel Johnson.  For a few brief moments, even its its dereliction, the ABC Cinema on Lime Street returns to its original utility.

Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni’s The Unmanned: 1922 – The Uncomputable, "reflects on Lewis Fry Richardson’s attempt to build a huge weather-forecast factory".  On screen, women represent various elements of their gender stereotypical and biological, from comfort in dark times to pregnancy while a voiceover narrates various apocalyptic situations befalling the planet due to man's poor judgement in relation to how to save us from climate change.

Seeing all this the same week The Futurist just up the road was demolished it was impossible not mourn slightly the loss of these "authentic" cinema experiences albeit that in reality this was mostly about horrible projection and sound, uncomfortable seating and having audience members in even closer proximity with their noise and eating.  But there's something antiseptic and uneventful about multiplexes; you might as well watch most films at home (which is mostly what I do now).

As ever there have been announcements and plans about the future of the space.  Back in 2007 the plan was for a boutique hotel.  Now it's a live music venue and media hub, plans which feel more certain due to the number of stakeholders involved and proper planning applications.  Although part of me wishes it could remain a cinema in the style of those Picturehouse adverts, the dereliction becoming a feature.  True love will find you in the end.

Next Destination:
143 Granby Street

Liverpool Biennial 2016:
George's Dock Ventilation Tower Plaza.


"Water is patient, Adelaide. Water just waits. Wears down the cliff tops, the mountains. The whole of the world. Water always wins."
-- The Doctor, "The Waters of Mars"
Art   For various reasons, I've walked near Betty Woodman's Liverpool Fountain on numerous occasions over the past few months since the Biennial opened but wanting to keep to the spirit of this project as much as possible made a point of either keeping my eyes front and centre or else selecting a completely different route in order to avoid it.  As we've discovered before, the best way to approach contemporary art is with a fresh eye in most situations and so why would I want to spoil myself?

Thankfully, it was well worth the wait.  A monumental sculpture, part of the Ancient Greece episode, it places shapes from sources that include, according to the Biennial literature,  "Greek and Etruscan sculpture, Minoan and Egyptian art, Italian Baroque architecture and the paintings of Bonnard, Picasso and Matisse."  Those influences are absolutely clear in the way the shapes have been fashioned and chosen colours, asymmetrical vases and statues in jarring colours.

The effect feels pleasingly dated, like a commission for the entrance hall of an office building or "modern hotel" from the 70s and 80s, not looking out of place, for example, in the old Senate House at Liverpool University or a Vegas money trap.  This isn't a criticism, one of my happiest days was visiting Le Defense in Paris and seeing work just like this at La Grande Arch and its surround commercial properties.

The shapes are augmented by copper piping pour water into a trough before, which was very welcome on the warm day I visited.  I stood for minutes with my hands cupped underneath letting the water flow into the space before periodically opening my fingers and letting the liquid fall through.  I did consider through it into my face but decided I didn't want to get my t-shirt wet.  Bedraggled has never been a good look.

Next Destination:
ABC Cinema

Liverpool Biennial 2016:
Open Eye Gallery.


"You are here because you want to know the truth about this starship. And I am talking to you because you’re entitled to know. When this presentation has finished, you will have a choice. You may either protest. Or forget. If you choose to protest understand this: if just one percent of the population of this ship do likewise, the program will be discontinued with consequences for you all. If you choose to accept the situation—and we hope that you will—then press the forget button. All the information I’m about to give you will be erased from your memory. You will continue to enjoy the safety and amenities of Starship UK, unburdened by the knowledge of what has been done to save you. Here then, is the truth about Starship UK and the price that has been paid for the safety of the British people. May God have mercy on our souls."
--- Starship UK Video Announcer, "The Beast Below"
Art Despite being from this city and being at just the right age, I have absolutely no memory of the student protest which is the subject of the recording of performance piece and connected video documentation on display at the Open Eye Gallery. In April 1985, I would have been ten years old which judging by the photographs was about the same age as a lot of kids who began marching at St George's Hall and worked their way through through city centre down Dale Street to the Pier Head.  But living out in Speke, my world very much limited to South Liverpool and with my prospects looking in the direction of the Blue Coat School in Wavertree, perhaps it was just something happening elsewhere.

The Liverpool schools march has already been the subject of an exhibition at the Blue Coat in 2011, which was reported on by BBC News at the time.  That was more of a historical affair with many more of the photographs taken by local photographer Dave Sinclair, which are also somewhat the basis for part of this display.  One of the criticisms I have of this display is that these photographs don't have a more prominent position; they could for example have been presented in the upstairs gallery, which at the inception of the Mann Island version of Open Eye was designated as a space dedicated to archival photography, instead of the continuation of installations from artists which are carried over from other venues.

The oddity of watching the group of volunteers recreating the walk stepping along such familiar streets brought to mind Biennials of the past when there was much of a sense of international artists creating work which reacted directly to the city. To be honest I spent much of it trying to work out why a couple of the faces seemed familiar and although I recognised a few people from the Biennial team, there were a couple I can only conclude I've seen at press days or private views around the city.  But I appreciate the artist Koki Tanaka's approach to highlighting the past, and how this was an example of how protest can work, the Thatcher government did slow down and re-evaluate their plans for the YTS scenes which were the subject of the march, only attempting them again later in a different form.

The problem as a visitor is this video is presented on a flat screen at the entrance to the display in a main walk through to the other galleries and back to reception and so as I discovered on the day I visited, it's impossible to watch without having people jostling to get past.  On the day I was there, a college group were being given instructions from a teacher, drowning out the sound of the speeches on the video which provided necessary context at beginning and end of the march.  It's a puzzling curatorial choice to have the key exhibit in such a compromised position especially since there's plenty of space elsewhere in the room, where two other screens containing interviews with people who marched and their children can be seen relatively unhindered.

Listening to them describe the reasons why they attended in 1985 and how they feel the issues they were raising back then are still relevant, I reflected by on the only street protest I've ever attended as as an undergraduate in Leeds in 1993 (I think), joining a crowd of contemporaries marching from Headingley, up Otley Road to the City Campus protesting against the dissemination of the grants, the introduction of loans and tuitions fees.  But even then I felt very uneasy about the affair and said as much to the two journalists from the Leeds Student paper.  What had seemed like a grassroots expression against something which would stop higher education from being accessible to someone from a poor background like me, I quickly noticed had been joined by people holding aloft placards advertising the Socialist Worker and about other unrelated issues.  By the time we reached the city centre and the rally on the Headrow, I peeled away.

Next Destination:
George's Dock Ventilation Shaft.

Soup Safari #71: Creamy Cheddar and Onion at the Warehouse Cafe.







Lunch. £4.50. Warehouse Cafe, Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4FP. Phone: 0161 832 2244. Website.

My Favourite Film of 1929.



Film After last week's visit to blogging in 2005, let's shift backwards in time slightly further to 2002 and the BBC's The Collective, a cultural review website from a time when the corporation's online offering was experimental and exciting, when the idea was to simply try things out and see if they stuck, bend the remit of what the BBC could and should be doing for the public, but on the main site and not in a walled off garden like often brilliant BBC Taster.

Utilising the same log-in technology as the H2G2 website (a user submission version of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy), a profile I still retain today to access the iPlayer, The Collective allowed users to submit reviews of all aspects of culture so that it would appear alongside the work of professional reviews and other editorial content.

Rowan Kerek, the editor of the site was kind enough to contribute to Review 2003 and Rowan's answers are still readable here.  I think she's the Rowan who was later mentioned on the Wittertainment show.  I wonder if it was her idea to call the user pages "my space" just before myspace was founded (ask your grandparents).

Having my own blog, I mainly posted over there for the purposes of trying to win the weekly prize being handed out, I think at random, which I managed to win on several occasions.  Prizes included a Turin Brakes t-shirt which I still wear despite never being a fan and a dvd of Man With A Movie Camera, the first time I saw the film.

The BBC hosted version was finally pulled some time in 2014 but as with all of these old projects it lives on as part of the Wayback Machine and here's a link to the final iteration which includes a link to an editors note explaining that the website is about to close in 2008 when the first wave of programme pages were introduced and the philosophy of the website changed.

Here's my old profile which functions surprisingly well considering.  As you can see I copied the about me from this blog but there's plenty of content which didn't originally appear over here which I've now copied over with the correct date stamps which I'm the process of resurrecting and can be read more easily at this tag, or at least what can be salvaged.

Although the editorial offer now looks quite standard, then there wasn't another part of the BBC really covering these topics in this way and it stands very much as a forerunner to the channels Radio One and Six Music would become and an ancestor to the approach that's now enshrined at the BBC Three website, not to mention BBC Arts.

Hello again, LOVEFiLM.

Film Back in March, you'll remember with all your long memories, that I cancelled my Lovefilm account after twelve years and wrote inevitably about this big moment here and here with dates and solemn recording of the final films I received and the implications this has on the future of consumer entertainment. I said:
"The combined catalogues of Lovefilm, Amazon Prime and NowTV amounts to over six thousand items and even taking into account the dross and Disney repetition, that should be more than enough films and television installments to keep me busy especially with their rolling catalogues. Yes, I'll have to wait three to six months or longer after the shiny disc release to see some films, but at this point I barely pay attention to release dates anyway."
All of which is true.  But the intervening six months, the following became apparent:

(1) Those extra three to six months can be interminable if it is a film you'd actually quite like to see and didn't manage to catch at the cinema

(2) It's sometimes even longer because you're also at the whim of when the streaming service decides to upload the film based on metrics and marketing. Items aren't uploaded as soon as the streaming window is closed. Sometimes they'll wait until the end of a month or even the following month. In the case of NowTV, because television is the primary outlet for the films they'll save some of the big ticket items for a national holiday or some other reason why people will be in the house at a weekend.

(3) Six thousand items seems like a lot, but it's not plenty. There are massive gaps, especially in the independent and world cinema areas to a degree I simply hadn't noticed or realised until that was all gone.  I'd glancing longing through Sight and Sound Magazine at everything that would not be there.  Not to mention when a film has been recommended online, in print, broadcast or by a friend but it's not in any of the streaming services or at least without paying extra.

(4)  Adding MUBI didn't help.  MUBI now and then has films which are still at cinemas or will have a rare film like Downhill Racer which hasn't had a UK dvd release but it's useless to anyone who already has a decent dvd collection and/or access to any of the other streaming services.  Their selection this past week has been The Odd Couple, Petty Persuasion, IF..., The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Munich, Great Expectations and The Parallax View.  All fine films but not quite what I was expected when I signed up for my year's subscription.  I mean it's fine -- if I manage to watch two or three of their films per month -- the stuff which isn't available elsewhere, I'm probably getting my money's worth but it's no substitute for Lovefilm.

(5) I missed the randomness, of having the decision as to which film I'd watch next taken out of my hands. Sometimes this became a reality:



With so much to watch, you really don't know what to watch next.

(6)  There's a huge difference between temporarily being able to access films due to licensing windows and just sort of having nearly of them there, albeit via the postal service.  Despite NewOn existing in the work keeping track of when a film was leaving and managing to watch it in time felt like real work.  Now if it drops off, I can simply add it to my Lovefilm list.

(7)  Of course, I'm also now back to making sure that I don't have items in my Lovefilm list that are currently available to see stream  and seeking out items which are Netflix/Amazon/MUBI exclusives to watch first.  Cameron Crowe's Aloha is on Netflix but hasn't had a UK dvd release.  Alex Gibney's Going Clear is only on Now TV.  But that bit of admin is a small price to pay. (updated: after writing that I decided to add them anyway - I simply can't be fussed with the admin)

This week I've worked through Knights of Cups, Room, Bridge of Spies and The Hateful Eight, finally and can't wait to see what'll be sent from my list next.

listless trekking.



TV Happy 50th anniversary Star Trek!

Typically on a day like this I would have posted something about how Star Trek has influenced me over the years and it's fair to say I'm as liberal as I am after becoming a fan at just the right plastic age.  But thanks to the longevity of this blog, I've already managed to do that. So here's a list of some old posts which already express everything I would otherwise have said at this moment, in this time:

How I became a fan:
"Around that time I also befriended someone at the local library who loaned me the way through her collection of Star Trek novels which included everything from the original James Blish adaptations through the original publications and movie adaptation and thence the pocket books. I read and read and read and somewhere in there became a fan, buying my own novels and lending them back to her. I have a vivid memory of being on a camping holiday reading David Gerrold's The Galactic Whirlpool."

What made me a feminist?
"People just have the experiences they have I suppose. I was reading Woman Woman comics at an early age. Watched a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a teenager and I expect a lot of my liberalism can be traced back to that. Reading Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Chaucer and being shocked at the treatment of women in those by societies of the past. Listening to a lot of female singer songwriters dealing with their experiences through lyrics. Tending to identify with female protagonists in films more than men. Reading The Guardian's Woman pages."

Spock's Christian Names:
"To tonight's Pointless Celebrities which has now become the tea time tv fixture on a Saturday night now that we're into a run of new episodes. This was a FA Cup Special so of course had a question board about ears which included the following clue which popped up during dessert ..."

Reviewing Encounter at Farpoint in HD:
"There are perhaps two especially embarrassing home videos of me in circulation (circulation in this case meaning the vaults at the Royal Bank of Scotland and a box in my flat somewhere). The first is of me line dancing to Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head at the end of a corporate team building exercise at a conference centre in Southend-On-Sea , a horror I luckily have never had a chance to see."

My first fan fiction starring Seven of Nine, Ezri Dax (and Buffy Summers, Monica Geller, Joey Potter, Angela Chase, Maggie O'Connell, Sam Beckett and Dana Scully):
"EZRI: If the reports of what the crew have been through are at all true, then I’d say that Captain Janeway would not abandon ship and initiate a self-destruct without a very good reason. By the way, how did you deactivate it?"

The Spotify Playlist
"When I was at college, a friend and I wondered what minimalist Star Trek would look like. We decided that nothing very much would happen and it wouldn’t happen over the course of an hour."

A review of nuTrek:
"ridiculously entertaining."

A review of the first issue of IDW's Star Trek comic:
"Turn the cover and we’re straight back into this strange new world, with a first page featuring a Scotty that looks like Simon Pegg, artist Stephen Molnar neatly capturing his essence without being slavish, and his alien helper, and a joke about whether anyone really listens back to Chief Engineer’s logs. From there everything is as you might expect, the story plays out as it did on screen with various changes reflecting the characterisations from the new film, with Kirk and Spock on slightly less chummy terms with Bones and Chekhov in attendance."

A review of the Hamlet in TOS's Conscience of the King:
"Hamlet is played by Marc Grady Adams and his job is largely to look surprised and not upstage the lead guest actor, one Arnold Moss (pictured) who two decades before this episode was recorded appeared as Prospero in The Tempest on Broadway for a hundred shows."

Vulcanised steel:
"I'm flicking through the free Metro newspaper on the bus this morning, turn to page four find this photo in connection with the knife amnesty which is being run throughout the country ..."

Being exercised about the new film series being a reboot:
"Excuse me while I geek out for a moment. Chud are reporting that the new Star Trek film isn't actually a prequel but a re-imagining. Hmm... why? They've no doubt looked at Battlestar Galactica and so forth and decided that in order to make the story relevant for today that they need to toss out forty-odd years of chronology and continuity so that they can write it they way they want to. Plus they've probably seen the hoops Enterprise often went through to try and tie itself in with a future story rooted in the past."

A review of Nemesis:
"It does feel like the television show. Some would see that as a criticism, but it is one of the strengths. In the TV show, most stories had a slow burn. Three acts of investigation and character development leading up to the big scenes at the end – no pointless action sequence here is needed in case your attention is flagging – you’re supposed to be watching the story. The more enjoyable moments happened, not during the action sequences but when characters just sat about and talked."

And finally that time I wrote a fanfic about meeting Lieutenant B’Elanna-Torres:
"The Wellington Boots were not comfortable in bare feet. The top edges cut into the side of his leg. As he took his first step outside, he had to place his hand over his face to shield a sun which was unusually bright this morning, as it shone across the fields of corn which stretched as far as the eye could see. He cursed his choice of footware as they slowed down his walking speed. The figure had already begun to walk towards the farm house. She appeared to be holding forward some kind of instrument, which she waved from side to side. He could hear beeps and shrills from it which became increaingly annoying as she neared. The sun beat directly behind her, so James could only see fragments of her appearance at first. The uniform she wore was almost completely black, as though it were its own shadow. Black apart from a golden strip which covered her shoulders which also reflected the sunlight shielding her face. "

Liverpool Biennial 2016:
India Building.


"It's like a silence you can almost hear..."
-- Barbara Wright, The Space Museum
Next Destination:
Open Eye Gallery

Ain't no power on earth can keep me down.

TV As you'll be aware, last night saw another of the BBC's Doctor Who related midnight announcements in which we all knew full well what it was going to contain ahead of time but stayed up nonetheless just in case there was some other surprise embedded in the code. Well ...



Doctor Who News has the full press release with the relevant quotes.

We knew that it would be available on the BBC Store. What we didn't have was confirmation of a DVD release.

Here's the Amazon pre-order for the dvd release.

Key detail?  "Number of discs: 2" which suggests that this will have special features of some kind along with the main feature.  Unless they've also included a standard telesnaps recon for some reason.

But there's more. Gary Gillatt, ex-editor of the parish circular and still sometime writer of their dvd reviews asked the BBC Store a pertinent question and received an unexpected answer:


Power isn't a one off, there will be more.  Even if the #omnirumour does turn out to be some gossamer xanadu, those gaps on our dvd shelves could slowly be filled soon.

Cold feet warm heart.

TV Cold Feet returned to television last night after over a decade off-air (this blog offered a paragraph about the now not final episode back in 2003) and somehow it's one of those examples of the revival genre which has somehow managed to recreate the show just as it was but in a later era.  Logically too, with none of the characters having stayed still, they feel older, lived in, the intervening years really showing in their faces.  How do actors manage to pick up characters after all these years and simply continue playing them in this way?

Part of the series is about filling the hole where Helena Baxendale's Rachel used to be although a fair amount of the show will be about that loss and how even after many years such things endure.  Seems wrong somehow not having her their but isn't that was death is?  Either way, I had slightly hoped that they would have made the show as though she hadn't been killed off, that she would have been just in there just to mess with viewers.  Having her long lost sister turn up wouldn't have been completely out of genre.  Or have her Friends character Emily wander through.  But no, she's not there.

Not that the creator Mike Bullen didn't try according to this Guardian set-visit:
"Following many years of being asked to bring the show back, Bullen finally agreed. The producers persuaded all of the original cast to return – with one notable exception. He did write a part for Baxendale, but she didn’t fancy playing a ghost. “She said, ‘Thanks but no thanks – it’s a crap part’,” laughs Bullen. “She definitely made the right decision. It was just me being sentimental.”"
Well ... true, plus without heading off into proper fantasy she presumably also wouldn't have had her own autonomy as a character, simply hanging around, reacting to Adam.  But the character is still there through her lack and because of that she's in nearly every scene.

My Favourite film of 1930.



Film Back in the day, back in 2005, when blogs were still in L'Age d'Or, before Twitter, Facebook and YouTube stole their thunder, a more successful friend put a publisher in touch with me about writing a book for one of their primer series. Like a scene from Gilmore Girls, the pre-interview happened during a lunch hour when I was at Liverpool Direct, sat at a table in the now closed Nat West Branch on Dale Street.

I was asked to produce a chapter list containing possible areas of interest which I duly presented.  The  project didn't go forward in the end, I think partially because they were expecting something more in mode of the "... for Dummies" series whereas I understood it to be something closer to history of blogging with a side order of Steven Johnson style socio-philosophy.  Oh to be young and have the aspiration and energy.  And motivation.

Now this blog's past it's fifteenth birthday, and the blogosphere and constricted to the size of a village, I thought it would be interesting to post the contents of that proposal.  As you'll see I had big plans for the book which would have involved international travel, interviews, primary sources and an attempt to capture the zeitgeist.  Now it primarily captures a moment in time.  There are personalities and events in here I'd entirely forgotten about.  It didn't have a title but let's call it ...

THE WEBLOG BOOK

Chapter One:
What's a Weblog?: Trying to define the indefinable
.

Increasingly people are finding themselves on the one side of the following conversation:
"I read it on a weblog."
"What's a weblog?"
"Erm."
The "Erm." happens because it's a near impossible question. A good shorthand is 'online diary' but that suggests that if the person asking goes online they'll find the intimate heartfelt details of the person explaining, and although there are certainly websites online which are exactly that, there are millions of others in thousands of other formats. Like finding a single equation which explains all the universe, this chapter will try to put together a single, good explanation. How did the term get shortened to 'blog'? What a weblog isn't will be discussed, then definitions will be brought together from such diverse places as the webloggers themselves, online encyclopedias, journalists and the 'man-in-the-street' (or email) to see what the general consensus is and whether it's something which actually can written down in a few words or if the sheer diversity of weblogs out there mitigates against it.

Chapter Two:
Life is a constant challenge : The Weblog Pioneers


That was the some contents first post by pioneer Cameron Barrett on his site 'Camworld', which even in mid-1997, when the term hadn't been coined, was something completely recognizable as a weblog (interestingly it wasn't until 1999 that he heard the phrase himself, which he admits in one of the great essay about the subject). This chapter will try to capture what it was like in those early days for the twenty or so early webloggers and what compelled them to start presenting their site in that format. At what moment did they begin to capture the imagination of the internet and become a global pastime. Who were the first British webloggers, and was their perspective and approach naturally different to everyone else?

Chapter Three:
That makes no sense to me : The Diarists


In January, Joe Gordon was fired from his eleven year job at the booksellers 'Waterstones' in Edinburgh. The company had taken exception to some of his writing online; he became the first British weblogger to be fired for something he wrote on his weblog. The chapter title from the post at his weblog, 'The Woolamaloo Gazette', when he revealed to the world what happened and tried to understand what he'd done wrong. The media outcry was swift and loud, with authors, whose books appeared on the shelves of the same shop he no longer worked in, sending group letters of protest about how Gordon's freedom of speech and expression had been compromised. So what compels people to be writing their most private thoughts online, is it confessional, therapy or something else? We'll talk to bloggers who've found themselves in trouble privately and professionally because of something they've written online, if they've regretted the choice they made to let the world know everything there is to know about them. We'll also delve into the murky waters of those who choose to write anonymously about their lives, such as Belle Du Jour (sacrificing their online identity for chance to present greater intimacy) and the already famous using the weblog to communicate to their fans and show that they're just like them (see Neil Gaiman).

Chapter Four:
feeling: upbeat : The Blogger Cultures


Like some giant, transglobal teen film, bloggers are drawn together because of common interests or beliefs, into clicks. Just like in 'The Breakfast Club', there are brains, beauties, jocks, rebels and recluses. Why and how did these subcultures develop and are they something which truly crosses borders or do cultural differences and language barriers prevail? We'll take trip through these cultures, meeting coders, camgirls, A-Listers, political bloggers and those with their unique interests. The concept of different blogging software will be introduced via a discussion of how this software creates barriers of its own. For example, LiveJournal which has its own peculiar format (for example, mood stamps on posts just like one which is the title of this chapter), offers the same diversity of interests as the rest of the community, but remains a mystery to vast numbers of people. Do users of one piece of software (Moveable Type) look down on other users (Blogger) as inferior just because of what they use to post?

Chapter Five:
It looks like we've been Slashdotted! : Weblog as community


Community weblogs are a place were thousands of users, usually webloggers can gather and share the items they've found online. They generally look like any other weblog, except there are usually dozen or even hundreds more items posted per day on a much wider range of subject. 'Slashdot' is a community weblog which has the tagline 'News for nerds, stuff that matters.' It's main interest is computers and technology and has the capacity to bring to a halt any websites or pages it links to because of the sheer number of visits which can be generated - or in other words, the site is 'Slashdotted'. Community weblogs are like small online villages, with their own idiots, in-jokes and volunteer policing. People meet and develop a crushing love or hatred for one another through their keyboard over such dispirit subjects as the American election, favourite wines or web browser.

Chapter Six:
[This is good] : The Blogger Innovates


The term 'weblog' was originally coined in 1997 by Jorn Barger as a way of describing his own site 'Robot Wisdom' which logged interesting items he found surfing the web. That site, which is still going strong is actually an example of what is now called a linkblog, stripping away the paragraphs and simply shows weblinks to pages which the writer has visited and liked. This is the zen approach and is becoming increasingly popular because of its simplicity. The look of a weblog is constantly changing and the ways people are communicating through the format become greater and varied. From photoblogs to moblogs, audblogs to mp3 blogs, people are using multimedia to express themselves in new and exciting ways. Noticing the trend, websites and companies are being set up to aid the blogger, with 'del.ic.ious.' making linkblogs easy and 'flickr' letting users show the colour photos of the lives they could only previously describe in black and white text.

Chapter Seven:
the all clear siren just went on : The Blogger Journalists


What isn't generally realized is that the 'Bagdad Blogger' Salam Pax began posting in some time before the Iraq War began. The first post in his archive links to an article at the New York Times about television show describing Saddam Hussein's hygiene habits. But when the bombing began, Pax began to gain the web's attention because he was there in the thick of it, describing in brutal honesty what he was seeing. Then there was Jeff Gannon, White House reporter for Talon News who found himself unmasked as Jeff Guckert, a right wing blogger who seemed to have been invited to the press corps because of his ability to throw easily answerable questions at a press secretary whenever they were in a tense situation. Liberal bloggers had become suspicious after he asked George W Bush a question about working with Democrats which included misattributed quotes and ended with "How are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?" Time and again recently, experienced journalists working for major news organizations have found their work undercut by the so-called amateurs, to the extent that weblog posts and scoops are increasingly being reprinted in newspapers. The blogosphere is regularly undercutting investigative journalists, often with just a keyboard, a search engine and instinct. There is also an increasing trend for journalists, such as Kevin Sites, to write about their work online in tandem with their job and in some cases include material they simply aren't able to include in as part of their 'official' work. The weblog format is also increasingly being used by online news organizations such as the BBC and The Guardian to cover the news, allowing journalists greater freedom to express their personalities.

Chapter Eight:
"Ah, you must be very beautiful then." : Blogs as Art?


An increasing number of blogs are experiencing a kind of backward evolution as they are taken off the web and published and sold in bookshops. The chapter title quote this time is from the first post of London Call Girl, Belle Du Jour, whose popularity online made a book deal inevitable with a tv series also in the offering. But just because it’s on paper, does it become literature? This chapter wonders if weblogs can or will ever be considered an art form, referencing those who choose to express themselves in poetry, painting and fictional prose. If we know the person who’s writing is fictional how does that effect the reader’s experience and how do we feel when a blogger such as Plain Layne, who we’d assumed to be real person is unmasked as nothing of the sort? There have certainly been enough rumours that Belle was in fact written by a very male author – if that was proven would it increase or decrease the value of the work? And what about the fans of tv series, actors and pop stars who are imitating their idols in the weblog format – is that just another form of fan fiction, wish fulfillment or both? How do the Bloggies and other weblog awards effect this overall impression?

Chapter Nine:
'Thank you, Ingrid Srinath' : Can Blogs Save Lives?


When the Tsunami hit parts of Asia on Boxing Day, a group of bloggers from throughout the world, who'd never met in real life, went to the free blog hosting service BlogSpot and set up a site, ‘The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog’, with the single aim of coordinating information about the disaster, everything from missing person reports to charity information to breaking news. Ingrid Srinath was a person who emailed the site with accurate material about Red Cross Donations, because she wanted to help. All of the different concepts and ideas from the previous chapters will be brought together to help tell the story of how the blogosphere was united in capturing a moment in history. Personal bloggers within the affected areas were using their websites to get the message out about what was happening in the area quicker than the mainstream media which was finding it difficult to react, and we weren’t just reading about what was happening to them we were seeing and hearing as well.

Chapter Ten:
Is this thing on? : The Corporate Co-operation


When Google, the most popular search engine it’s own weblog as a way of talking directly to its users it seemed like the most natural progression for the company. They’d recently acquired Pyra the company behind the equally popular free blog hosting service Blogger so this was also a way of demonstrating their commitment to the application. But they’re not alone. Thousands of businesses are beginning to understand the possibilities inherent in blogging bringing their message to the public. In addition it isn’t just news organizations using blogs to promote their wares. Film fans are enjoying unheard of access to the production director Peter Jackson’s remake of ‘King Kong’, including a daily video diary from the set, via weblog being created by his fans. Will this relationship continue to be co-operative or can the corporation overwhelm the amateur?

Conclusion:
The future


Where are weblogs going? New trends are happening all the time, from corporations such as Google using the format to release information about new services and products, to companies sending new gadgets as well review copies of their music, books and dvds to the most popular bloggers in the hopes of producing work of mouth. The quite backlash is discussed, as some question whether blogs are strangling the ability of search engines to present the best information quickly. There is also the rise of the news aggregator, which allows users to check and even read updated weblogs without having to even visit the website itself. Are we going to reach a stage when the weblog as a single voice will phase out in favour of becoming a voice in a crowd?

Streaming Dream.

Shakespeare It's been announced that the Shakespeare's Globe production of A Midsummer's Night Dream is to be live streamed then made available on the iPlayer. These are the facts:
"Emma Rice’s inaugural production as Artistic Director at Shakespeare’s Globe is to be broadcast around the world for audiences to enjoy for free as part of Shakespeare Lives, the online digital festival co-curated by the BBC and the British Council. A Midsummer Night's Dream will be streamed live on this website on Sunday 11 September at 1830 BST.

"The final night of the Bollywood-infused A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which has wowed critics and played to sold-out audiences at the Bankside theatre in London, will be streamed live on Sunday 11th September. It is the first time any production has been live streamed from Shakespeare’s Globe. Introduced by actress and comedian Meera Syal, the show will also be available on-demand on the digital platform which can be accessed anywhere in the world as well as on BBC iPlayer for viewers in the UK."
If anything I'm curious to see what the fuss has been about the artificial lighting which has been fitted to the building over and above the fill light which previously existed to mimic the conditions of watching a play during the period of the original Globes. If this Globe was created to present the plays in as close as possible to the conditions in which they were originally acted, don't spotlights and the like miss the point?

Liverpool Biennial:
Toxteth Reservoir.


"Spoilers."
-- River Song, "The Big Bang"
Art In commenting on Biennials and contemporary art in general, I've talked about how just like any other creative media, it's often best approached cold without much of a preview so that we can allow whatever we're being greeted with to wash over us, to luxuriate in our initial reaction however positive or negative that might be. There's not one occasion I think think of when I've thought better of a piece, enjoyed it more, having known about it first. Unlike painting, for example, contemporary art, due its generally inherent minimalism, often has a very short period within which to surprise, shock or amaze us if that's it's approach. If it has enough thematic or intellectual depth, that will develop afterwards, but it's the gut reaction which is usual the fundamental point of its existence.

If only I'd been able to see Rita McBride's Portal before stumbling into the darkness of Toxteth Reservoir but it's been another of the pieces whose image has been splashed around across social media and in publicity, because of its spectacularity, that it was impossible to approach cold and that's a shame.  Having been directed by a door person to keep my eyes fixed on a blue bollard until my eyes adjusted, I already knew what they were about to look at and although I was still astonished by the scale of it, I felt pangs of disappointment that this was still a secondary reaction hoping that the version of me in a parallel dimension who'd managed to avoid seeing the work ahead of time was suitably gaping at it with the correct aplomb.

As the accompanying video explains (and again please don't visit this page if you're at all thinking about visiting) the artist has always had a strong interest in science fiction and wormholes in particular and that's what she's trying to express, really quite successfully here.  Green laser beams bounce between walls across a hundred metre gap, creating a lattice of light broken by dust in the atmosphere.  On first inspection you might imagine that these are wires or fibre glass cables stretching between until you realise that's impossible.  Instead it's a version of the security lasers which appear in modern heist films stretched to their limit, in green rather than red and resembling the screens of code in The Matrix films.  Spectacular and large scale.  To get the full experience you must walk from one end to the other.

About the only reservation I have is that the accompanying sound is the echo and chatter of voices from the door people and people entering visiting rather than something to accompany the sight, a fitting sound effect like the sounds of the universe or time vortex something which echoes about the space in a similar way to the light.  This feels like a work which requires our concentration and yet the space is filled with audible distractions that bring us right back to reality.  Pretty quickly I cranked up my iPod and listened to some instrumental music which helped somewhat.  Of course, this would be a nonsense on busy days when the space is filled with people anyway but I'm a huge fan of verisimilitude, of going all out when attempting to communicate an idea.  Nevertheless, I'd still list this as a highlight of the Biennial and well worth the trip down one weekend when it's open.

Next Destination:
India Building.

Liverpool Biennial 2016:
Rosebery Street.


" Every conversation with you just goes... mental. And there's no one else I can talk to. I've seen all that stuff up there, the size of it, and I can't say a word. Aliens and spaceships and things and... I'm the only person on planet Earth who knows they exist. Oh, that's just not fair."
-- Rose Tyler, "Aliens of London."
Art When is the best time to view public or street art? When it's sunny or when it's raining?  Walking up Princes Avenue this morning towards Rosebery Street, the heavens were very much open for business, pitching water everywhere, making the world grey and dark green with highlights of muddy brown.  Hud up, head down, I was entirely confident I was in the wrong place at the wrong time to see Alisa Baremboym’s Locus of Control, another of the Monuments from the Future.

Even after viewing the piece, which sits on a patch of grassed waste ground, near some derelict house, I don't know if I saw it at it's best.  Certainly a sunny day would have led to the metal shining brightly, perhaps even other worldly.  But the wet weather meant the ground was slightly less accessible so there was a genuine effort involved in getting close and peering through the holes at the plastic construct within (which is also viewable on the artist's website).

From the outside the object resembles an environmental pod of some kind on an alien world, or a cage being used to encompass some beast.  The edges of the sculpture have begun to rust which speaks towards the idea of an object which is becoming part of the environment, as though abandoned by whatever it is which has made it.  Like the other monuments in this episode, if we embrace the fiction, it sits apart from the location inviting us to speculate on its origin.

Next Destination:
Toxteth Reservoir.