by Terence Dackombe In the relatively early days of Twitter, before famous people had thirty million followers, I had a conversation with Demi Moore. I’m rarely star struck but even I, on this occasion, thought, “Ooh, hello, I’m having a Twitter conversation with Demi Moore…”
We were talking about the advantages of Twitter for people in the public gaze, and especially those who, before Twitter, had no real direct access to instant communication with the world.
by Magnus Shaw On 7th June 1977, the Sex Pistols and a coterie of pals and hangers-on, threw a party on a pleasure boat on the Thames. The band played, drinks were consumed and eventually the river police forced them to dock. Malcolm McLaren was arrested, Richard Branson lost his deposit. The escapade was a planned protest against the establishment generally and the Queen’s jubilee specifically – and, although it has passed into rock history, its impact as a political statement was dilute at best.
The German philosopher, Georg Hegel, said this about two hundred and fifty years ago, and then Lyse Doucet said something very similar the other day. But it was the phrase ‘people of tarmac’ that has stayed with me since Wednesday.
I spent an extraordinary evening earlier this week in the company of journalists and writers who do a real job. The reporters who put their lives at risk every time they go to work; foreign correspondents who become used to the sound of gunfire and the smell of death.
by Lisa Cordaro I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but ‘Doctor Who’ has finally eaten itself. With apologies to committed ‘Whovians’ – for whom the programme is less a TV event and more a way of life – the 50th anniversary show, The Day of the Doctor, ditched its skis and tumbled spectacularly off-piste.
We start with the ‘TARDIS’ airlifted into Trafalgar Square to meet the head of U.N.I.T., who has a letter bearing the seal of Queen Elizabeth I. (Yes, that Elizabeth I – stay with me, this will make sense.) She leads The Doctor into the National Gallery, where proof of Good Queen Bess’s letter is provided by a 3D portrait of Gallifrey, during the Time War. How on earth did it get here? More pertinently, what on earth is a Tudor monarch doing sending a painting of an intergalactic conflict to 21st-century London?
by Magnus Shaw If things had turned out differently and Tom Selleck had taken the Indiana Jones role, the rolling boulders and derring-do would still have thrilled us. But one can’t help thinking the lack of Harrison Ford’s rugged sarcasm would have robbed the franchise of its popular magic. However spectacular your special effects, in the movies, casting is everything. And so it is with ‘Gravity’.
Currently topping the UK box-office chart, ‘Gravity’ has been called a ‘game-changer’. That rather depends on your definition, but if we’re talking about endless sequels, comic book adaptations and vulgar frat-boy comedies, I’d be most surprised if one movie can deliver substantial change to the Hollywood game. Although this is more to do with the intransigence of Tinsel Town accountants than any weakness in the make-up of ‘Gravity’, for it is a wonderful film indeed.
My first experience was in its previous life as the Millennium Dome. I was one of the foolish people who tootled along to the Millennium Experience.
“In the Dome we have a creation that, I believe, will truly be a beacon to the world.” (Tony Blair)
Apart from being a colossal waste of money, the visit was memorable for me in that I managed to lose a crowned tooth whilst there, and came home determinedly not opening my mouth wider than a millimetre. Then, a couple of days later, my girlfriend gave me one of those ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ conversations and went back to her mother in Yorkshire. Naturally, I blamed it all on the Millennium Dome.
So then I waited until August of 2007, when the Dome had transformed into the O2 Arena. Prince came to town. My girlfriend (another one by then) and I loved the show, and enjoyed the river cruise back along the Thames. Well, I say we enjoyed it. She became convinced that someone was going to blow the boat up as we went through Tower Bridge. That meant the journey had a distinct edge to it.
Then my father died the next day.
by Magnus Shaw As you may have noticed, the Mayor of Toronto has been attracting attention thanks to his crack smoking – an occasion captured on video for posterity. Shocking? Well, perhaps. But I should tell you that our own Prime Minister has been consuming a dangerous drug too. I’ve seen the pictures. There he was, addressing the assembled money-mongers at the City’s Guildhall, and all around him were vessels of high-strength intoxicants. Brandy, whisky, and port – freely available to Mr. Cameron just seconds before his keynote address. All three of those substances are brimful of alcohol; a spectacularly addictive and potentially lethal chemical. It just happens to be entirely legal.