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Showing posts from January, 2020

CAN’T DO A LITTLE ‘CAUSE HE CAN’T DO ENOUGH [219]

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There is a great argument against putting eyes on inanimate objects, for this action is inviting you to take that object as having become an autonomous being, capable of emotion, making you feel guilty for disposing of it at the end of its useful life. Then, there is Mayor McCheese, resident of, and remnant from McDonaldland, an advertising campaign introduced in 1970 to sell fast food to children, when that was still acceptable. Ronald McDonald, the Hamburglar and Grimace were all residents of McDonaldland until 2003, when McDonald’s dropped the use of it, but while those characters continue to be used, Mayor McCheese had been kicked out of town as long ago as 1985.  Ultimately, the reason for this exile is obvious – Mayor McCheese is a humanoid with a burger for a head, a mayoral sash, and the voice like comedian Ed Wynn, who was the Mad Hatter in Disney’s animated “Alice in Wonderland” (1951), the perfect combination of “what was that about?” that makes for cutaway gags

THINGS THEY DO LOOK AWFUL COLD [218]

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“My definition of a film director is the man who presides over accidents... Everywhere there are beautiful accidents. There’s a smell in the air, there’s a look that changes the whole resonance of what you expected.” – Alfred Hitchcock Orson Welles. If 2018 could be remembered for anything good, it is because two of the most extreme examples of film development hell finally saw release: “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote,” directed by Terry Gilliam, and Orson Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind,” released by Netflix thirty-three years after its creator’s death. Like Gilliam’s project, Welles’ film has its own behind-the-scenes documentary, daring to tell a more interesting story than the film itself. “They’ll love me when I’m dead” may well be something Orson Welles said, but that was not true in the New Hollywood of the 1970s – the old one kicked him out for making uncommercial or downbeat films, leaving him to scrape together funds for his work in Europe by resorting to cam

AN ELEPHANT NEVER FORGETS [217]

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With its future in limbo, I visit the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, and find that it’s business as usual - a dead mall wouldn’t have working escalators.

TAKE ON ME, TAKE ME ON [216]

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A question has been plaguing me for weeks: should I buy a Yamaha reface DX?  One new year’s resolution for me is to make more music. I can read music, and play the piano a bit, but there Is much space for improvement. Music is just one of those things it feels like I should be able to do. But when a particular idea plants itself, one that will require a substantial commitment from me, in terms of time and financial outlay, in order to justify itself, it is a decision I could not take lightly – it has been in the back of my mind for months. The Yamaha reface DX is one of a series of four music keyboards, released in 2015, that aims to replicate other keyboards in Yamaha’s history and, like the Sega Mega Drive Mini and Nintendo NES Classic Mini, give users the experience of using the original hardware, with authentic knobs, switches and sliders – the CP is an electric piano, the YC a combo organ, and the CS is a synthesiser representing the late 1970s / early 1980s period when s

ALWAYS READ THE LABEL [215]

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One morning, getting ready to go out for a walk, I was asked to buy some antihistamines. I knew what type was needed, so I checked: “is that the Benadryl, in the yellow box?” Since there are so many types – cetirizine, loratadine, acrivastine and so on – once someone has finally come across the one that finally works, you must follow their instructions very closely. In my nearest Asda – if you’re American, read Walmart, because Asda is owned by them - there was only one box of the correct medicine on the shelves: Benadryl’s One-a-Day cetirizine, and it was in a box of thirty tablets for £9.50. I seriously considered walking to the next store to try there, but I then saw Asda’s own-brand cetirizine, again a box of thirty, with exactly the same dose per tablet, for £2.50. The story should have ended there, but I did think that, if I explained why this different box would be just as good as the branded product, it will make sense. However, I compared the descriptions: the full na