Who created Monopoly?

Games One my most vivid television memories is from the early eighties and the educational programme Eureka, which was a series about inventions. I remember an episode about the creation of the board game Monopoly, of a man becoming very excited after noticing the patterning on his table cloth and turning it into the familiar game board with properties and such.

The BBC Genome now tells me this was broadcast on BBC Two England on 25 November 1982 at 6.10pm and was written by Jeremy Beadle and Clive Doig and was the story of how "Charles Darrow got his inspiration for the game Monopoly from Atlantic City in America."

Except their version of events was wrong or at least glossed over somewhat the contribution of an earlier inventor.

As this book extract from The Guardian explains, "in 1903, a leftwing feminist called Lizzy Magie patented the board game that we now know as Monopoly – but she never gets the credit":
"To Elizabeth Magie, known to her friends as Lizzie, the problems of the new century were so vast, the income inequalities so massive and the monopolists so mighty that it seemed impossible that an unknown woman working as a stenographer stood a chance at easing society’s ills with something as trivial as a board game. But she had to try.

"Night after night, after her work at her office was done, Lizzie sat in her home, drawing and redrawing, thinking and rethinking. It was the early 1900s, and she wanted her board game to reflect her progressive political views – that was the whole point of it."
Mary Pilon, the author of the book has also written this opinion piece on the debacle.  Little by little, the history we thought we knew based on patriarchal propaganda is slowly being rewritten.

Knock on Torchwood.

TV There were rumours of a radio return but it looks like we'll never see a resolution to the end of "Miracle" Day. The Backlot asks the question:
I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about Torchwood. Every few months there seems to be another story about how we may get more Jack Harkness. What’s happening?

RTD: I know! Bless that show, but I’m afraid not. John Barrowman is busy on Arrow. I can’t believe he’s actually joined a show that’s got his name inserted in the title. [laughs] Just call it Barrowman and be done with it! But I’m afraid no plans at the moment. But anything can happen because it’s a funny old world. But I know what I’m doing for the next two or three years and it doesn’t involve Torchwood. But who knows, the BBC is going in a different direction so who knows. Keep your fingers crossed.
Well, ish. Blames Barrowman for being busy (not that this stopped him ever) and doesn't rule out Torchwood without RTDs involvement exactly, but yes, that looks like it could be it. For now. Possibly.

Soup Safari #20: Chicken at Maggie Mays Cafe Bar.

Dinner. £2.75. Maggie Mays Cafe Bar, 90 Bold Street, Liverpool L1 4HY. Phone:0151 709 7600. Website.

Phantom Photo Storage in iProducts.

Technology Recently I've been having dire warnings of my iPad's memory being over extended both because of Twitter's insistence of keeping a cache of all the tweets including images that it looks at (only fixable by deleting then reinstalling the app) and photos. The Usage list in Settings suggested my photos section was a bloated, bloated place.

Once I'd convinced the Windows 7 machine to find the relevant folders and copy the images I wanted to keep over there was then the problem of deleting what was still there. But even after having visited the Photos app and deleting everything, the app itself indicated that it was still holding a mass of data of some sort I couldn't see.

To Google and once of the most bonkers technological quirks since Y2K and a fix found on Apple's discussion boards from a user called scabthepoet which I'm going to reproduce below so that it's in more than one place.  I can't find more identity details for them so if it's you and you stumble here and you'd like me to take this down or provide better credit, let me know, but know you're an utter, utter genius:
  • Go to Settings
  • Date & Time
  • Untoggle "Set Automatically"
  • Manually change the date back. For example, if today is March 15, 2015, choose August 1, 2014. (You can change it back once we're done)
  • Close out of that
  • Open "Photos"
  • Select "Albums"
  • If, like me, you had already cleared out everything from the Camera Roll and "Recently Deleted" folder, you'll smile to see that your "Recently Deleted" folder now has thousands of images back. Those are your phantom photos
  • Open it, "Select" and start deleting
  • Now, go back into Settings - General - Usage - Storage - Manage Storage - and you'll notice your Photo & Camera is empty if you deleted everything
How messed up is that?  Sure enough, following these instruction I did indeed find two hundred odd images I thought I'd deleted hiding away which I was then able to clear.  Turns out 2gb of my problems had been to do with such files, which is quite a lot on an iPad 2 with just 16gb memory.

Just as an aside, the trick seems to be to take the date back to way before you bought your product - I went to 2012.  Later than that doesn't seem to work as well.  Let me know how you get on.

My Favourite Film of 2001.

Film Some films I simply remember the date and place that I first saw them because of something else which happened in proximity. My first viewing of Moulin Rouge! was on the 10th September 2001 in a double bill with A Knight's Tale. It was in screen six at the Odeon on London Road and I wrote about it on this blog that evening (and also A Knight's Tale)  I also remember the two films I watched the following day, Bullitt in the morning, then the first hour of Ever After, the rest of which I didn't see for six months after having turned it off in the middle for a toilet break something which didn't happen for ten minutes anyway because I'd happen to have the news channel tuned in on the VCR.

One of the repeated themes of this series is whether it's possible to uncouple your memories of seeing a film for the first time and the circumstances from your later ongoing appreciation of a film itself.  This depends.  Having waited for months I finally saw Luc Besson's Lucy during an otherwise quite boring day and I know that in the future I won't remember anything about that day but the film itself or even which day it is (for the future version of me that was the 18th March 2015 so I'll remember that now).  This blog certainly helps the memory too, though it's worth noting I'd remember that I saw these films on these days without the younger version of me's record of the event.

In the case of Moulin Rouge!, no I haven't.  I can't.  The events of the following day are too significant, not just in and of themselves but also everything which resulted from them, the effects of which are still being felt depending on your socio-historical perspective.  Each time I sit down to watch this mostly melancholy, often quite jolly musical, there is always a strange moment when I remember what it was like on September 10th, which in terms of events and context and the actual process of living as me wasn't that different, I wasn't directly affected, but the feeling of being pre-9/11.  Which is silly.  Or might be silly.  I don't know.

But why Moulin Rouge! ahead of all the other films released that year?  Perhaps because it's robust enough to move beyond that, for me to become lost in Luhrmann's day-glo post-modern interpretation of Paris, the way it, as is so often the case with the films in this list, and it is a list, presents images and sound and performance in ways which hadn't been seen before, reinventing what cinema is capable of.  Contemporary critics couldn't interpret the kinetics of the editing, with Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian typical of the cry for the everything to slow down so that the viewer can see the scenery  criticising "the great undifferentiated roar of colour and light and noise" as though they're bad things.

The great undifferentiated roar of colour and light and noise are the point.  Moulin Rouge! along with the other "red curtain" films (with Strictly Ballroom and Romeo+Juliet before) and his concept album, Something for Everybody (which is a spin-off from his A Midsummer Night's Dream stage show) which as this interview from the same paper explains is about appropriating certain elements of Hindi filmmaking within a Western format, throwing a mess of shapes at the screen whilst at the same time engaging with deeper, heartfelt themes.  If I'm being honest, I've never really seen a satisfactory explanation of "red curtain".  It's more of an attitude than a definable cinematic language.

It's an odd coincidence that I saw it in conjunction with A Knight's Tale, both of which utilise the trick of shifting contemporary music into an anachronistic setting as a substitute for what would be the popular music of the actual period.  They both successful at it in different ways, but it's the whole thing of Moulin Rouge!, whereas its just odd sectors of A Knight's Tale.  In any case, the reason I love Moulin Rouge! is because it dares you to engage with such things, or not.  To go with it, or not.  Too many films are timid now, unafraid to strike out and fail and ultimately fail anyway because of this.  I'll never know, but perhaps this would have been enough to keep it's initial viewing in the memory anyway, without the subsequent tragic events.

Talks Collection:
Andrew Graham-Dixon.

Science Intevitably then. In recent years, plenty of the enthusiasm I have for paintings and sculpture is as a result of watching Andrew Graham Dixon's various television documentaries, his Art of [Insert Country] series and escapades on The Culture Show and in Italy.

Short PR interview with Penguin Books on the occasion of the publication of his book about Carravagio:

A short piece from Big Think about Carravagio:

To the Jaipur Literature Festival where Andrew gave a talk about Carravagio:

And joined a panel about the art of the biography:

As part of the Arts & Literature Festival in King's College last November,Graham-Dixon and historian Antony Beever are joined by literary historian Lara Feigel in teasing out the history of sheltering in the Second World War in London:

Finally, in January he was interviewed at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne:

For completion sake, there are also two channels here and here which collect together much of his television work from across the years.

"affable chitchattery"

Lifehacks As I think we've well established I'm a semi-introvert who doesn't drink but there's no denying I'll be trying the trick in this Conde Naste Traveller article suggested by someone who boastfully indicates they're a near opposite:
"I have a strange problem: I’m too approachable. I’ve always been big on small talk, never lost for words at parties. It’s turned me into the de facto seat-filling stopgap among my friends, the man seated next to an awkward guest to help smother their anxiety with affable chitchattery. In response, I’ve mastered an array of techniques to politely slip away from anyone who sticks to me like social chewing gum. One tried-and-true example: Never leave a bar without two drinks, so you can use the second as an exit strategy. Would you excuse me? I have to deliver this wine before it gets any warmer!"
I'm rubbish at smalltalk too.

"Was it just another performance?"

TV The NYT has a profile of the mighty Tatiana Maslany on the occasion of the new series of Orphan Black. I've italicised one interesting nugget:
"Wavy-­haired and theatrically dirty, Maslany spoke in Sarah’s lower-class British accent between takes. (She kept it up until they broke for lunch.) She was warm and self-­assured and modest and frank. She exuded a contagious ease. In our very first conversation, we bonded over the unsung virtues of the adult onesie. “I had one that had the butt-­flap until after high school,” she told me. I was as charmed as I was suspicious. Was it just another performance? Or an admission that she would prefer to be covered up?"
If I draw anything from the piece it's that in order to play each of these characters it's almost as though she becomes a different actress for each, that they're a performance shelled within a performance with the real Maslany hidden or obscured still further beneath.