Serial and the Podcast Explosion.

Journalism The New Yorker points me towards this event in which ...
"a week before he died, the Times media columnist David Carr moderated a panel at the New School called “Serial and the Podcast Explosion,” the first event in a series presented by the university’s newest major, Journalism + Design. Carr, bundled up in a fleece jacket, leaned back in his chair and held a mic to his face at an angle that suggested he was about to do some freestyling. “I’m here as your potted plant for the evening,” he said. The panelists beside him were the stars of the podcasting world: Sarah Koenig (“Serial”), Alex Blumberg (“StartUp”), Alix Spiegel (“Invisibilia”), and Benjamen Walker (“The Theory of Everything”).
Can't wait to watch it. Mainly posting it here as a nudge. Though mainly transcript highlights, the New Yorker piece also offers useful links to the work of the participants.


About Every now and then, close as I am to my ratio limit, I use the really excellent ManageFlitter to have a clear out of my Twitter follows, to shed people who clearly don't use the service, never really did or tweet that often.

One of the problem is that that there's always the odd organisational feed which offers one tweet every couple of days but which still is always something pretty interesting.

The BBC Archive feed is good example, pointing followers to often otherwise underpublicised new clips on the BBC website or noting when an archive repeat will be on television. But sometimes whole days will pass between tweets.

I'd naturally unfollow a feed like that but I don't want to lose sight of them.

Here's what I've done. I've set up an If This Then That recipe.

IFTTT is a useful way of triggering a thing to do a thing when it's done a thing. Reader's Digest offers a useful explanation.

So, whenever @bbcarchive tweets, I get an email  with the content of the tweet therein and I've set up a filter at Gmail so that all of those twi-mails go into one place.  Which is really useful.

Unlike twi-mail which barely works as a word.  Sorry.

Birth Chart.

Music The Official Chart Company has unveiled a new website format which includes the ability to quickly find a particular chart from the archive. Here then, is the top ten from when I was born:

Which isn't awful and has a few tracks I've even heard of even if only in cover versions.  But it's also notably all blokes.  The first female singer is down at number 22, Olivia Newton-John.  I wonder to what we can attribute this.  You can also search for an artist's chart history.

My Favourite Film of 2008

Film Seeing Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York at the Cornerhouse in Manchester was a profound experience.  Not so much the process of seeing the film, but rather seeing how the film has processed me since.  Even to this day, I'm not sure I've quiet come to terms with what happened, certainly not to a point in which I've been able to watch the dvd copy I bought full price not long afterwards as I could have done in preparing to write about it now.

Here's why.  At around that time I began cataloguing my dvds and as you might remember, contrary to all sense and after having probably watched High Fidelity a bit too closely, I decided this should be done in chronological order based on the year in which something is set.  Full details can be found here and if you're not shaking your head by the end then there's something wrong with you.

Little did I realise at the time just how profound a decision that would become because here I am in 2015 still cataloguing.  Every so often when I've collected enough of them together, bought dvds (removed from their amaray boxes and put in plastic wallets to save space) and whatnot, I'll pile them up, enter the details in Access, try my best to adjudicate which year they're set in, usually easier if the filmmaker has decided for me, then sort them across the boxes.

Potentially this can be quite therapeutic and educational.  But there's also a certain level of distress involved as I realise that this may never end.  Plus there's the idiotic early decision to not also bother to record the year of production so I can't also see the century of cinema or place all of the films produced in a given year together digitally without retrospectively going back.  Genuinely can't be bothered.

Like PSH's character in S-NY, I'm stuck in a cycle unable to stop because of all the work done across the previous decade but fearing I may have to stop for my own sanity because it didn't occur to me that I would be doing this for much of the past decade.  I keep imagining making huge decisions like separating the television and films and storing them separately or going through a process of "de-accessioning" and only keeping what's important.

Essentially, I need to be able to look at this shot ...

... and not think, "Yep, pretty much.  Looks like useful storage."

Fresh Air on New Yorker.

Journalism NPR's Fresh Air has a lengthy interview with David Remnick, the current editor of the New Yorker at it turns 90:
"What I inhaled at The New Yorker was a culture of attention. So for example, there had been - she's no longer with us anymore - there had been a kind of super copy editor named Eleanor Gould. And she would do, at some late stage of a piece's editing - and there are many layers to the editing - what was called a Gould proof. And she had been there for decades and decades. She had been there when Harold Ross was around. And these proofs taught you so much about repetition and indirection and all the muck that can enter bad prose if you aren't careful. This woman could've found a mistake in a stop sign. I have a copy of a proof in which she found four mistakes in a three-word sentence. I'm not kidding around."
It's pretty expansive and covers recent successes and failures, including around the lead up to the 00s Iraq War. There's a podcast here and a transcript if you want to skim.

Theatre on Television. Again.

TV Well now, what's this? BBC to demonstrate renewed commitment to prime time Arts programming and partnerships. Given the riches which have turned up on the iPlayer and BBC Arts website lately, I think it's going swell but let's see what this means in terms of the thing I'm otherwise most interested in, theatre:
"Later in the year, there will be new seasons on Poetry and Theatre. The Theatre festival includes Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins starring in a new adaptation of the drama The Dresser on BBC Two and new drama strand Dialogues, bringing together exceptional writing and acting talent to BBC Four.

"In a new partnership with the Arts Council of England, we’ll be working with theatres and theatre companies to explore new ways of making and broadcasting theatre on the BBC.

"And across the English Regions, we will be following 11 local theatres over the next six months as they tackle an array of challenges - on stage and off."
Plans from the specific to the vague as ever. Might have been useful to mention that The Dresser has a playwright, Ronald Harwood, and that it's not some random choice, The Dresser is about a touring theatre company. Oh and there's already a film version with a screenplay written by Harwood himself, so this isn't like plucking Sir Thomas More off the shelf and doing a version of that.  As ever, then, this looks like a commitment to theatre within certain limits.

The poetry season (yes, again) is bags more interesting and also features some classical:
"The poetry season will include a profile of the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy; a special on Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene; a drama adaptation of Simon Armitage’s long poem, Black Roses and Performance Poets In Their Own Words."
If all of this seems a touch mealy-mouthed, it looked with Malfi from the Globe like there was going to be a real transformation in the BBC's attitude to theatre.  But apart from some crumbs during Edinburgh nothing has changed that much. Drama on television is still new television work and literary adaptations. Anything filmed on a stage is an opera or ballet.  Far cry from the 70s when etc etc etc

Bank Computer.

Film Having begun to watch my way through the Harry Potter films (I'm only halfway through Chamber for various reasons), I just had to watch the above Buzzfeed video which I won't spoil but is endlessly amusing not least because Hermione is clearly the most powerful wizard yet Potter's the most famous. I spent the entire duration trying to work out where I'd heard the voice over before. Sounds a bit like Roger Allam, but a glance towards the credits underneath indicates it's Kevan Brighting. Kevan Brighting the IMDb informs us played the Bank Computer in Doctor Who's Time Heist. Uncredited. You can't turn it off.