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Showing posts from October, 2020

SOME DUCKS AND SOME SWANS [267]

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  While I ready myself to write about the 2020 US Presidential Election (which will mainly be about Donald Trump, but what isn’t these days), please accept a video of some ducks and some swans, filmed a couple of weeks ago.

PLAYING PING PONG ALL NIGHT LONG [266]

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For what is both an exercise in nostalgia, and a way to continue exploiting old intellectual property, it is remarkable that the Atari Flashback series of games consoles, begun in 2003 by Atari themselves and continued under license by AtGames, has now lasted longer than the original production run of the Atari Video Computer System, later renamed the Atari 2600, on which it is based. The original console was in production for a mere fifteen years (1977-92),  withstanding numerous redesigns and cost-cutting, competition from far more advanced machines, an insatiable public demand for more complex and involved games,  and the bankruptcy of its parent company. But the games are amazing. Atari’s catalogue, along with games made for the console by other publishers – Pong, Breakout, Adventure, Battlezone, Centipede, Yars’ Revenge, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Pitfall! – form a canon that proved the viability of an industry. The Fairchild Channel F may have been the first games console with

HEAR ME, I’M GRAPHICALLY YOURS [265]

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Once upon a time, staged plays were a staple of British television – plays originally performed on the stage, and plays written to be staged on television. A famous example is “Dial M for Murder,” first staged by the BBC in 1952, then in the West End the following year, and filmed by Alfred Hitchcock the year after that. An even more famous example is Nigel Kneale’s 1954 adaptation of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” whose violent visions of a fascist Britain prompted questions in Parliament, before the Duke of Edinburgh said he watched it with the Queen, and enjoyed it. At this time, plays were normally performed twice, and performed live – the distinguished audience of the first performance of “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is the only reason a telerecording was made of the second performance, preserving Peter Cushing as Winston Smith for posterity. The history of British television plays is normally centred on socially conscious strands like BBC One’s “The Wednesday Play” and “Play

GIVE US A SIGN THAT WE’VE REACHED YOU [264]

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It seems an odd point to make that people are more accepting of alien invasion than they used to be, as if there has been a real-life test of this theory, but the reason this came to my mind was from watching Frank Oz’s director’s cut of “Little Shop of Horrors,” which might take even more of an explanation. However, when there is still only one “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” for every five films like “Independence Day,” or one “Arrival” for every ten “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” there is a case to be made that people are now more willing to see a vision of an alien invasion that results in the eradication of humanity. No longer do the only outcomes for audiences have to be “we come in peace,” or the vanquishing of a foreign force. Since 2012, “Little Shop of Horrors” has been available in two versions: the original 1986 released version, where Rick Moranis’s Seymour and Ellen Greene’s Audrey marry and move to the suburbs, just as in Audrey’s earlier dream, the alien plant

LEAVE A LIGHT ON FOR ME [263]

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[The script of this video is reproduced below.] Hello there, I decided to return to The Bridge Shopping Centre in Portsmouth after a year away. On my first visit there, in 2017, it had been a dead shopping centre that had been reduced to a corridor between the main road and the Asda superstore that both overlooked it, and owned it. However, by 2019, some local businesses had begun reopening the spaces that national chains had left behind, and the atmosphere was slowly returning. All the while, I continued receiving messages asking about the centre, or sharing their memories of it. To be honest, the video I shot inside The Bridge this time around is not very good, and the reason was because the centre was JUST TOO BUSY. More shops have opened, and more people are walking through. It’s easy to film the late Eighties design in an empty centre, when few people had a reason to walk through, other than the Asda of course, but this time, there were simply too many people to film around, and