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Good news for all Coronation Street and Jeremy Kyle fans – they’re marking the 1000th episode of the Jeremy Kyle show with a special featuring actors from Corrie in character; bad news for the rest of humanity. I’m not going to denounce either show, but it’s on the same list of bugbears as people who insist on pluralising supermarkets name (Sainsbury’s and Morrisons I will give you; Asdas, Tescos, Waitroses I will not. The latter is less likely to be pluralised).

There’s been talk on Twitter and blogs this morning, just random conversations about being more right wing as you grow up, being disaffected in life and then all the celebrity tweetings about relationship break ups and general disappointments we’re dealt.

Then I came across this sentance from Lyn Gardner :

“I’m a different person from the person I was last week. I’m a very different person from the teenage theatregoer who found Peter Shaffer’s Equus the most thrilling of plays, and who could never understand why Chekhov’s Three Sisters didn’t just get on a train to Moscow. There are some playwrights – Chekhov and Beckett among them – who I think you can only truly appreciate once you’ve experienced the compromises and disappointments of adult life.”

It’s the last sentence that appeals to me most – “experienced the compromises and disappointments of adult life”. I think we imagine these to be the scourge or the burden of the mortals we encounter, the maligned bank tellers, pissed off mothers, disillusioned shop workers. To see it actually in print, well it softened the blow of adult life a little.

Gabriel Byrne has been named Ireland’s first cultural ambassador by Taoiseach Brian Cowen. Wasn’t this the man that almost took Santa Claus out on The Late Late Show (Irish television programme that’s basically penetrated the whole Irish consciousness for those of you who aren’t familiar – English peeps think Parky but culturally endemic), and has the wrath of parents upon him across the country?

He Pingping, who was 2ft 5in in height, died in Rome over the weekend. Originally from China, he fit into his dad’s hand when he was born. Aww. According to the Guardian, he was quite the ladies’ man. RIP.

Hilton Als is causing something of a controversy with his review of Martin McDonagh’s new broadway show A Behanding in Spokane as ‘shameful and vile’ and an inherently racist retelling of the tale. I haven’t seen the play but I was interested to read the last paragraph in Als article:

“Like any smart immigrant, McDonagh knows that by going after Toby’s otherness he becomes less of an outsider himself. This is how many people, certainly in the Republic’s past, have first defined themselves as Americans.”

I’m not comfortable with that statement or indictment of the Irish diaspora in the USA. And, as Als should well know, McDonagh, although his settings are Irish (the fact that the show is on Broadway shows the subjects are universal), was born in the UK, to Irish parents. I think we can comfortably ascertain McDonagh identifies with his Irish parentage and ethnicity but I’m not sure if he can support that final, damning statement with any other evidence? Am I misreading this, the way I think he did?

Your thoughts?

Bit of a love in over at the Guardian but an otherwise  interesting interview with the Beeb’s world affairs editor, John Simpson. Four year old chisseller at 65, freelance deal as world affairs editor and heading off to Iraq shortly. Puts us all to shame. Not a fan of Mr Murdoch.

After the success of Avatar, which I imagine he’s still drunk on, James Cameron has decided to re-release Titanic in 3D. Hitting cinemas in 2012. I want to ask why, but those of you who are closet fans will just come back with ‘why not?’.


He’s also planning to re-release Avatar around its 10 month anniversary (?). Someone feeling a touch emasculated post Oscars?

Turning off the tv, and taking your time back is a concept that’s recently come to me. I moved recently; in my previous house I had Sky+ and boy was I an evangelist for it. To me, it was seriously great, freedom to go do what I wanted and come back to catch up on all my favourite shows and movies. Heaven sent for a girl like me with not a lot of time on her hands. In my new house however, I’ve had no tv for the past few weeks. Has it been a big deal? No. I’ve been unpacking, listening to music, watching internet television as a I pleased but able to dip in and out while updating my twitter or this here blog. And my two of my favourite Interweb gurus Seth Godin and Clay Shirky seem to be thinking along the same lines:

“At the local health food store lunch buffet, they offer stir fried tempeh.
I never get it. Not because I don’t like it, but because there are always so many other things on the buffet that I prefer.

That’s why I don’t watch TV. At all. There are so many other things I’d rather do in that moment.

Broadcast TV was a great choice when a> there weren’t a lot of other options and b> when everyone else was watching the same thing, so you needed to see it to be educated.

Now, though, you could:

  • Run a little store on eBay
  • Write a daily blog
  • Write a novel
  • Start an online community about your favorite passion
  • Go to meetups in your town
  • Volunteer to tutor a kid, in person or online
  • Learn a new language, verbal or programming
  • Write hand written thank you notes each evening to people who helped you out or did a good job
  • Produce small films and publish them online
  • Listen to the one thousand most important operas
  • Read a book or two every evening
  • Play a game a Scrabble with your family

None of them are perfect. Each of them are better than TV.

Clay Shirky has noticed the trend of talented people putting five or six hours an evening to work instead of to waste. Add that up across a million or ten million people and the output is astonishing. He calls it cognitive surplus and it’s one of the underappreciated world-changing stories of our time.”

Your time can be your own. Distractions are detractions from the stuff that’s worth doing.

*I apologise in advance for my overuse of Gil Scott Heron quotes. But he probably won’t ever stop, lyrically, being the man for me.

The third instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman has just been confirmed as Nolan’s last. We should all we grateful, in a way, for keeping it as a trilogy instead of it potentially ending up like B****n and R***n and anything remotely to do with Arnie. At all. But still, he did some magic on the Dark Knight (the character, rather than movie number two).

Michael Keaton’s still my favourite. Yours?

Michael Foot’s obituary was written by Mervyn Jones, journalist and Michael Foot biographer (and a fascinating character in himself – his father was Ernest Jones, a confidant of Sigmund Freud’s) who predeceased Foot by over a week on 23 February 2010. Not necessarily wrong, but just feels odd